Cong, JD(S) spar over bus passes to students
Bengaluru: The Legislative Council was witness to a squabble between the members of the alliance partners in the coalition government – the JD(S) and the Congress – over issue of free bus passes to students.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Ivan D’Souza (Congress) said former chief minister Siddaramaiah in his budget presented in February this year had announced that free passes will be issued to all students. While Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had assured that all the programmes announced by the Congress will be continued, free bus passes were yet to be issued.
Joining the issue, senior Congress member S R Patil said: “Classes have commenced but there is no sign of free bus passes. This reflects on the helplessness of the government. Transport Minister D C Thammanna is answerable to the people.”
He said the House had given its approval to the budget presented by Siddaramaiah and it was the duty and responsibility of the present government to implement the promises.Thammanna, who belongs to the JD(S), said while there are special grants provided by the Social Welfare department to provide free bus passes to SC/ST students, the Finance department is yet to allot grants to extend the scheme to students from other categories. “The Transport department incurred a loss of Rs 600 crore last year. If the department is provided grants to run the scheme, only then we can consider issuing free bus passes to all students.” He said the government is yet to reimburse
Rs 500 crore to the department for various schemes. “Are you ready to provide us this amount ?,” Thammanna said directing the question at Patil, a former minister and a close aide of Siddaramaiah.