BENGALURU: Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Saturday ruled out the free bus pass scheme stating that there was no money available to implement the same. He told reporters that he had never spoken about free bus passes at all.
This comes even as students who are on a strike, threatened to intensify the bandh call by several student organisations which led to reduced attendance across schools and colleges in the city.
Lecturers at government colleges across the state, faced with a paltry turnout of students, were forced to cut short classes.
However, according to Ajay Kamath, Bengaluru District Secretary of the All India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO), classes in around 150 colleges were boycotted by students.
Across Karnataka, around 500 colleges saw negligible attendance by students as over 10,000 students stayed away from classes to support the demand for free bus passes.
However, despite the boycott, some colleges decided to conduct classes even though only few students had turned up. But, later the lecturers were forced to let off the students after a few hours as there very few students.
In Maharani’s College for Women in Bengaluru, the student attendance was 25%. While the demand for the free bus pass scheme is growing, sources said that the Education department and the Transport Department were willing to shell out 25% each of the costs for providing these passes if the state government would bear the remaining 50%.
But with Kumaraswamy’s refusal, this plan is also unlikely to be accepted. The free bus passes for students were announced by previous CM Siddaramaiah in his budget presentation earlier this year. Siddaramaiah had earmarked `836 crore for the scheme in his budget.
However, the issue did not find mention in H D Kumaraswamy’s budget that was presented recently leading to the massive agitation by students.