Mumbai: After girl's suicide, full bus pass waiver for students

Mumbai: In the wake of suicide by a girl who could not attend classes as she could not afford bus pass fee, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has decided to waive the fee completely for the students of first-year junior college and above in the eight drought- affected districts of Marathwada.

Transport minister Diwakar Raote said the scheme will benefit 4.60 lakh students. It would be named 'Swati Abhay Yojana' after Swati Pitale, the first-year junior college (FYJC) student from Latur who committed suicide earlier this month.

Pitale had mentioned in her suicide note that she didn't have Rs 260 for the ST pass as her indebted father, a farmer, was in dire straits.

Raote said he would put the proposal for waiver before the state cabinet tomorrow.

"As per the MSRTC policy, it already subsidises two-third of the pass amount while the student has to pay the balance. But taking serious note of the suicide, to ensure that other students in distress do not take recourse to such extreme step, the MSRTC has decided to waive the one-third pass fee component too," Raote said.

Despite the losses which State Transport (ST) was incurring, it has decided to bear the additional burden of Rs 9.18 crore, said Raote, who belongs to Shiv Sena.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had asked him what steps he was taking in the light of an editorial in the party mouthpiece 'Saamana' which severely criticised the BJP-led government over the girl's suicide.

Raote said that he had apprised the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of his decision. About 1.50 crore students all over the state avail of ST concession passes.

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