K‘taka: Free bus pass scheme in cold storage?

BENGALURU: The appears to have decided to put the announced by the previous in the .

For, the government has been maintaining a stoic silence on the issue for the last one and half month and the transport department officials are not sure when it will be implemented as they are waiting for a nod from chief minister H D Kumaraswmay. With the student community also not pursuing the issue, , the state government is considering to delay as much as possible.

“We have left it to the discretion of the chief minister and he will have to take a call. The CM has already told the ministry not to go ahead with the scheme unless he gives green signal. If he gives clearance, only then we can proceed further,” said an official from the transport minister’s office.

Sources in transport department also maintain that the scheme is unlikely to see the light of the day at least during the current academic year. “There is a plan to issue free bus passes from the month of November. But we are not sure whether it will materialize or not,” a source said.

The scheme was announced by Siddaramaiah during his last budget just before the assembly elections and he has been putting pressure on the government to implement it. However, Kumaraswamy, from day one, has been opposing it owing to the Rs 2,000 crore additional financial burden it will put on the state’s exchequer.

The dilly-dallying by the government has also prompted senior Congress MLC S R Patil to tell the government beg, borrow or steal but implement the scheme.

In the beginning, all the four road transport corporations were asked to bear the burden. However, the latter rejected the proposal stating that they cannot bear the burden as they are already running under loss. Transport minister D C Thammanna had also made it clear that unless the government gives the matching grants, the scheme will not be implemented.

The had even asked the education department share the 50 percent of the additional burden only to be rejected by the latter.
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