Free Travel in RTC Buses Rakes Up Argument Between Ministers and BRS MLAs

Hyderabad: Acrimonious scenes were witnessed in the Assembly over Congress government’s guarantee on free travel to women in RTC buses. BRS MLA Palla Rajeswar Reddy said that the Congress scheme was having an adverse effect on the auto drivers in Telangana as they were losing their livelihood. He also flayed the Governor’s address on the first day of the budget session. He said that it was replete with 30 tricks and 60 lies. He also criticized the Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy for making tall claims about Praja Darbar while in reality, Revanth was not spending at least one hours daily at Pragathi Bhavan. Neither are there higher officials. It is only people submitting their grievances to the volunteers there, he said. “The Congress government is more interested in White papers rather than solutions.” The BRS MLA said that over 21 auto drivers ended their life unable to make both the ends meet following the implementation of the Mahalakshmi scheme, as part of which women are being provided free travel in RTC buses. He demanded that the government should provide Rs 20 lakh ex gratia to the families of dad and also extend the loan waiver scheme to the auto drivers. He also suggested that the government improve the brand image of Hyderabad and provide Rs 500 bonus for every quintal of rice grown by the farmers as promised. Farmers and their welfare did not find place in the Governor’s address, he pointed out. Responding to the comments by Palla, transport minister Ponnam Prabhakar said that the MLA’s words sounded as though demons were chanting ‘vedas’. Did the BRS government extend any financial aid to the auto drivers, he asked and informed the House that they were planning to give Rs 12,000 every year to the auto drivers. “It is as though the BRS is provoking the auto drivers to end their life,” he criticized. He said that the Congress government was bearing a burden of Rs 530 crore towards the free travel to women in RTC scheme. Congress MLA and women’s welfare minister Seetakka also took exception to the BRS MLA’s criticism and reminded that the BRS never did any good to the auto drivers during its 10-year rule but was now trying to show off its concern to their families. She wanted the BRS MLA to come clean on his stand over the free travel scheme and also fumed at the party legislator for trying to stoke sentiments over any issue. Significantly, the BRS MLAs reached the Assembly in autos this morning to highlight the plight of the auto drivers and their families. BRS MLA Sunitha Laxma Reddy suggested that the number of RTC buses and trips should be increased to make the scheme more effective and she also wanted the government to immediately look into implementation of disbursing Rs 2,500 to every woman in the state as promised by the Congress party, as part of its six guarantees.

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