BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has purchased 33 buses for providing passenger services to four Maoist affected districts.
The new buses will ply on 28 identified routes in Nuapada, Gajapati, Deogarh and Sundargarh districts from the new year. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is scheduled to flag off these buses from the State Capital on December 31, official sources said.
The Government had asked the Collectors of the four districts to identify the routes having minimal transport services for public.
Meanwhile, the Government has received 30 buses while the remaining three will be delivered soon. This is part of the Biju Gaon Gadi Yojana which aims at providing transport to un-serviced and under-serviced villages in hilly, tribal and backward areas.
Launching the programme in 2013-14, the Government had announced to cover 118 scheduled blocks in 12 districts. The districts to be covered under the programme are Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Kalahandi, Phulbani, Gajapati, Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj and Balangir.
As many as 1180 routes have been identified to provide transport service benefiting about 80 lakh people.
The Government purchased 25 buses in 2013-14 and added another 32 buses into the fleet in 2014-15 which are pressed into service in undivided Koraput, Ganjam and Kandhamal districts.
The sources said the Government has provided ` five crore from the unspent balance of Central assistance allocated for security related expenditure for procurement of the new buses.
Under the scheme, the Government had devised a mechanism in which private entrepreneurs would procure their own vehicles and operate on the routes identified by the Government with fare structure approved for that route taking commercial viability and reasonableness into consideration.
Apart from promising exemption on road tax and permit tax for a maximum period of five years, an interest subsidy upto five per cent on the capital borrowed is allowed to the private players.
While three per cent base subsidy would be provided on interest rate, an additional two per cent subsidy would be given to those who would repay their loan regularly.
The scheme would provide assured transport service in morning and evening to enable students to go to their educational institutions and the public to access various facilities in urban areas.
However, there were not many takers of the scheme because of Naxal threat and doubt about economic viability of the programme.