In a move to benefit the women in Punjab, the Cabinet approved the proposal floated by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to allow free-of-cost travel for women in all government buses.
The scheme is set to reportedly benefit over 1.31 crore women/girls across the state. As per the Census 2011, Punjab has a population of 2.77 crores (males 1,46,39,465 and female 1,31,03,873).
Under the scheme, women residents of the state can avail the free travel service, from April 1, in government-owned buses including Punjab Roadways Transport Corporation (PRTC), Punjab Roadways Buses (PUNBUS) and city bus services operated by the Local Bodies Department.
However, the service will not be applicable to the government-owned AC, Volvo and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) buses.
One would need to furnish documents like an Aadhar Card, Voter Card or any other proof of residence to make use of the service.
"Further, all women, who are family members of Punjab government employees and reside in Chandigarh, or are themselves employees of the state government but live in Chandigarh, can avail the benefit, irrespective of age and income criteria, of free travel in the said government buses," a spokesperson from the Chief Minister's Office said, reported NDTV.
The initiative is aimed to serve the twin purpose—provide free and safe travel for women in Punjab and to bring down the number of private vehicles running on the roads— thereby reduce traffic congestion and pollution.
"This scheme is not only expected to reduce female drop-out in schools because of the high cost of daily transport and but also facilitate working women, who have to travel considerable distances to their workplace," the spokesperson added.
The Chief Minister had announced the free travel scheme in the Vidhan Sabha on March 5, in a bid to empower women and girls in the state, as per a government statement.
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