JAMMU: What else could be surprising for the Jammu region that the mini-buses exclusively earmarked as ‘ladies special bus’, started in 2016 and flagged off by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, are nowhere to be seen or plying on the city roads.
Mehbooba Mufti had flagged-off an all women special bus service in the city in June 2016 after encouraging response from similar bus service launched in Srinagar in April same year with mostly working women and girl students making best use of the facility.
However, contrary to expectations of the Chief Minister, who had asserted while launching the service that with this initiative, she can now assure that her sisters and daughters need not be concerned about intimidation in public buses, received cold response from women folk.
“People in the Jammu district did not prefer to travel through city buses and ladies special buses despite special concession for senior citizens, school going students, adequate advertisements and promotions in colleges, universities, schools and other government institutions,” official sources said. The ladies special buses were pressed into service on Panjtirthi-Gangyal Pulli, Panjtirthi-Channi, Panjtirthi-Bagh-e-Bahu, Old City-Talab Tillo, Jammu-Akhnoor, Jammu-RS Pura, Jammu-Nagrota routes.
However, the ladies buses almost remained empty while the other commercial mini-buses on city roads used to witness heavy rush.
The State Road Corporation had purchased two types of buses- a 18-20 seater bus and a 26-32 seater– under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
The cost of 18-20 seater mini buses was around Rs 16 lakh and 26-32 seater buses nearly Rs 20 lakh.
As per sources, the SRTC was paying Rs 1200 to 1500 for fuel everyday on these buses against revenue of just Rs 200-300 per day.
“In view of losses incurred in lakhs, the ‘ladies bus service’ was reportedly taken off as it was not possible for the Corporation to bear more burden”, sources added.
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