Govt's Indira Sarige service stuck over cost sharing

Govt's Indira Sarige service stuck over cost sharing

Govt's Indira Sarige service stuck over cost sharing

The state government's much-touted Indira Sarige service, aimed at providing affordable bus rides to women working in the garment sector, is unlikely to start anytime soon because of differences over cost-sharing by various stakeholders.    

According to the proposal made by Transport Minister H M Revanna, the Transport, Labour and Women & Child departments along with garment factory owners had to share the cost of the subsidised bus pass for garment factories.

Women make up a large part of the labour force in more than 1,200 garment factories in Bengaluru. Under Indira Sarige, the government planned to provide subsidised monthly passes in non-AC buses to garment workers.

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) provides two types non-AC monthly bus passes to its commuters. The Rs 1,050 pass allows unlimited travel in the city while those who want to travel in buses running on Nice Road have to buy the Rs 1,900 pass.

Sources in the Transport Department said a meeting was held recently in which officials of three departments as well as members of garment owners' association took part.

"The Women and Child Welfare Department agreed to share 20% of the cost. Officials from Labour Department initially said they could not contribute to the scheme but relented later. The garment factory owners association sought time to come to a decision," they said.

Another source said that given the disparate nature of garment factories, the owners are unlikely to arrive at a concession on sharing the cost. "Some owners were of the opinion that they have already made transport arrangements for labourers in their factory. Others asked why they had to fund the scheme," he added.

Garment factory owners' association could not be reached for a comment. Gautam Porwal, president of Karnataka Hosiery and Garments Association, said it was the government's job to provide affordable transport to garment factories.

"Garment factories are providing jobs to lakhs of people, especially to women with limited education. Governments should recognise their contribution to the job sector and should not demand more," he said.