The free rides in state buses will cost Telangana up to Rs 6 crore a day (ANI)
Acting quickly on its poll guarantees in Telangana, the new Congress government in the state has rolled out the free bus service for women. However, it will be a big financial challenge for the new government to fulfill all its pre-election promises given the state's economic health.
College students Sara and her friends are thrilled now that bus rides are free for women in the state.
"This is very thrilling and useful not just for young students and professionals but also for older women," Sara said.
"It will really help young girls from middle-class families to travel without worrying about money whether it is to colleges or to find jobs," said Pooja Yadav, a college student.
Within two days of taking oath as the Chief Minister, Revanth Reddy implemented two of the Congress guarantees - free bus travel for women and increasing the health insurance limit to Rs 10 lakh. The launch coincided with Sonia Gandhi's birthday.
The way Sonia Gandhi fulfilled her guarantee of the formation of Telangana state, the Congress government would strive to make Telangana a state known for people's welfare and development by implementing the six poll 'guarantees' within 100 days, Mr Reddy said.
He called December 9 a day of festival for Telangana as it was on December 9, 2009, that the then UPA government had announced the formation of Telangana.
It was Sonia Gandhi who made Telangana state a reality like a mother as per people's aspirations, he said.
Speaking to NDTV, Telangana's Transport Minister Ponnam Prabhakar said: "We are very happy we could fulfill two promises in two days... As the Transport Minister, I am thrilled that women can now take bus rides for free."
The free rides in government buses will cost the Telangana government up to Rs 6 crore a day and approximately Rs 2,500 crore a year. The government is trying to assess the financial burden of implementing the other pre-poll guarantees.
Senior Telangana Minister Uttam Kumar Reddy lashed out at the previous BRS government for leaving "the coffers empty".
"What we are realising is that the BRS government was lying. They have left the coffers empty. But we are committed to fulfilling our guarantees within 100 days," he said.
The Congress government intends to release a white paper on how the state went from surplus to massive debts between 2014 and 2023.