Free buses provided by RJD chief Lalu Prasad from his MP funds for schools and colleges have found few takers in his Chapra constituency in Bihar's Saran district, with students preferring to pedal to school on free bicycles provided by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
During a meeting of school and college principals called by Saran District Magistrate Kundan Kumar last week, only 4 out of 50 of them agreed to take the buses.
Stating that earlier 16 principals had earlier agreed to take the buses, District Magistrate Kundan Kumar told PTI from Chhapra, "As of now consent for only 20 buses have been received for the 70 provided by Prasad."
Secretary of Secondary schools teachers Association Rajaji Rajesh, who participated in the meeting, said that majority of principals pointed out that since the free cycle scheme of Kumar was running successfully in the constituency, there was no need for buses which would incur operational costs.
Rajesh said that the principals citing the opinion of parents stated that nobody was interested in paying for maintenance of the buses.
Besides there was also a parking problem for buses and their security in schools, he said.
In the absence of takers, the buses were gathering dust, he said.
Seeking to make a dent in the free cycle scheme, Prasad had in March this year announced to provide free buses to schools and colleges to ferry students.
By April, 70 buses bought for Rs 8.18 crore arrived in Chhapra, the district headquarters of Saran.
Rajesh said RJD workers had impressed on Prasad to provide buses without consulting the school authorities.
The DM said that he has written to Prasad to seek his permission to give the buses to other institutions or send them to a neighbouring district.
"Further action will be taken after a response from Prasad," the DM added.