In a meeting chaired by Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Tuesday, the state government has decided to propose a public transport scheme, ‘Mukhyamantri Gram Gaadi Yojna’, for the rural population of the state. The CM plans to propose the scheme in the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday for faster approval.
Starting with a fleet of 250 buses in its first phase of implementation, the scheme aims to connect the remote, tribal and rural areas with other parts of the state. Although a timeline is not yet fixed, Soren said that the scheme will be put up in the state Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. The plan had been in the talks since early this year and the meeting on Tuesday was held by the CM to expedite the process as not only the public transport will help senior citizens, school and college students, differently-abled, HIV positive, widows and “all revolutionaries who worked for Jharkhand state” to commute hassle-free but they all will get free access to travel, according to official sources.
Soren said. “Our priority is to strengthen the road transport and traffic system in rural and remote tribal areas of the state. The aim is to connect rural areas with block, sub-division and district headquarters. So that people living in remote villages can get access to an accessible transportation system.”
The scheme will give a boost to people living in remote locations as more than 70 percent of the current estimated population of four crore in Jharkhand reside in the rural areas, the source said. “After the cabinet clears it, the process will begin to invite applications to run the buses and then work permits will be issued. It may or may not happen before the state elections due November-December, 2024,” he added.
The transport department officials, also present in the meeting, said that the routes will be determined keeping in mind public places like hospital, school, college, weekly market, local market and railway station locations. Soren said that a mobile-based application will also be launched so that the villagers will get the location of the buses regularly and “villagers won’t have to wait for buses due to lack of information”.
Under this scheme, bus operators on prescribed routes will be given subsidies on vehicle purchase but that its implementation process may take a long time, said the source.