Civic body to students: Get bus passes cancelled to avail free bicycle scheme

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To ensure that its plan to promote the use of bicycle among students doesn't fail, the civic body has decided to provide free cycles to school students staying within a distance of 2 kms on the condition that their bus pass facilities are cancelled.

In 2010, the PMC had decided to promote use of public transport system to protect children from accidents and thus made travel on PMPML buses free for students from Classes V to X on the school route. The pass facility is being used by over 50,000 students with the PMC paying the PMPML for it.

In 2012, the PMC came up with a scheme to promote the use of bicycle among students. Those already using bicycles and staying within 2 kms from school were to be given Rs 1,000 cash while those living at least 2 km away from the school were to given free bicycles.

"The free bus pass facility has put a burden of Rs 18 crore on the civic body. The budgetary provision has been Rs 9 crore but the PMC had to shell out Rs 16 crore last year. This time it is going to be Rs 18 crore. Hence, we want to have a system in which the students don't avail benefit of both free bus pass and free cycle scheme," said Pushplata Pawar, PMC education officer for secondary and technical education.

She said the idea behind framing a policy was to ensure that the benefitting student do not take advantage of both the schemes simultaneously.

"The plan is to buy bicycle worth Rs 4,500 and hand it over to eligible beneficiaries," Pawar said, adding, the students with no bus pass will be eligible for the free-cycle scheme.

"The day a student gets the cycle, the bus pass issued to him/her will be cancelled, she said, adding that the PMC expenditure on bus pass would reduce and the objective of using bicycle will get fulfilled. According to the policy, the beneficiaries of free bicycles will be civic school students from Classes VII to X staying at least 2 kms away from the school. Students will have to apply for the scheme and the benefit will be available only once for these students.

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