From tomorrow onwards women in Punjab can travel free of cost by government buses.
The state cabinet, presided by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, on Wednesday gave its consent to the plan that is going to help over 1.31 crore women/girls in the state.
The Census of 2011 says that Punjab has a population of 2.77 crore (1,46,39,465 males and 1,31,03,873 females).
Women can make use of this plan in the government-owned buses, like Punjab Roadways Transport Corporation (PRTC), Punjab Roadways Buses (PUNBUS) and city bus services operated by the Local Bodies department.
But, it is not suitable for the government-owned AC, Volvo and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) buses.
Beginning this month, the chief minister agreed to make travel in the state free for women.
A chief minister’s office (CMO) spokesperson said records like the Aadhaar card, voter card or any other proof of citizenship in Punjab would be allowed to avail this facility.
“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,” the official said.
“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,” he added.
This convenience will thus assure access to “safe, cheap and reliable” travel for women to be part of any economic activity.
Considering the scheme is supposed to support women and their friends to use public transport, “it would naturally bring down the number of private vehicles running on the roads, leading to consequent reduction in pollution, accidents, and vehicular congestion”, the cabinet said.