Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) Staff and Workers’ Federation has written a letter to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah urging implementation of the Congress manifesto guarantee of providing free bus services for women in the State.
On May 24, the federation wrote to the Chief Minister saying the scheme is yet to be implemented despite there being demand for the same. “This development has led to altercations between passengers and bus conductors. Hence, we request you to implement the free bus pass for women passengers soon to avoid such confusion,” wrote D.A. Vijay Bhaskar, chief secretary of the federation.
Before the Assembly elections, the Congress had announced five guarantees, including ‘Shakti’ — free travel for women in ordinary public transport buses across Karnataka. These guarantees are considered one of the major factors that drove voters, particularly women, to support the Congress, and for its emphatic victory in the 2023 Karnataka Assembly elections. The Congress got 135 seats in the 224-member Assembly.
On May 25, the opposition BJP tweeted the letter, and alleged that lies by the Congress have led to unnecessary conflict between bus crews and passengers. “The time is not far when people of the State will protest against the government’s irresponsibility of playing with the feelings of the public,” Karnataka BJP tweeted.
H.V. Anantha Subbarao, president of the federation, told The Hindu, “From the ground level, we are getting information that the promise made by the Congress in its manifesto about free bus pass for women passengers has led to confusion. Despite that, the scheme is yet to be implemented. Many passengers don’t even listen to the crew, and demand a free bus ride. Hence, we wrote to the Chief Minister to implement the scheme soon.”
At the first meeting of the Cabinet of the newly-formed government in the State on May 20, a decision was taken to implement the five guarantees promised to voters in the poll manifesto of the Congress party.
Mr. Siddaramaiah said details of implementation of these schemes would be worked out during the next Cabinet meeting. The departments concerned have been told to issue orders for implementation of these schemes.