Mayor Tiwari had announced to provide free Aapli Bus ride to senior citizens to mark World Senior Citizens’ Day on Oct 1
Nagpur: The goodwill gesture announced by the Mayor Dayashankar Tiwari to provide senior citizens a free ride in Aapli Bus on October 1 to mark World Senior Citizens’ Day turned out to be a ‘jumla.’ The senior citizens in Nagpur were virtually taken for a ride as Aapli Bus refused to provide a free ride to them as announced by Mayor Tiwari.
Appreciating the gesture, some senior citizens were hoping to have a free ride in Aapli Bus on October 1. But the hope soon turned into despair as the conductors of Aapli Bus on almost all routes demanded ticket fare from the senior citizens. Some ‘Jyshta Nagriks’ who boarded the Aapli Bus on route from Besa to Sitabuldi were aghast to see the conductor refusing free ride and forcing them to pay for the fare. When some senior citizens told the conductor about the Mayor’s announcement of a free ride to them on October 1 to mark World Senior Citizens’ Day, the conductor, despite knowing the directives, asked them to cough up fare money.
Reports reaching Nagpur Today told the same story on almost all routes with conductors refusing free ride and telling the senior citizens to pay ticket fare. A senior citizen produced the Aapli Bus ticket nailing the Mayor and Nagpur Municipal Corporation for their ‘jumla.’ He boarded the Besa-Sitabuldi bus at Parivartan Square. Soon the conductor approached him and demanded fare money. When specifically told about the announcement of free ride to senior citizens on this particular day, the conductor grinned mischievously and handed over the ticket charging Rs 5 (as per concession to senior citizens).
The Mayor Tiwari, in view of upcoming NMC polls, tried to woo voters by announcing the goodwill gesture to senior citizens. But the gesture turned out to be a poll stunt in true sense.
It may be recalled that Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) had decided to provide a free Aapli Bus ride for senior citizens on Friday, October 1. Moreover, to celebrate the country’s 75th year of Independence, the NMC had also decided to provide free ‘Nagpur Darshan’ tours in Aapli Bus for them. One bus was to be deployed in every NMC zone on this day, the Mayor Dayashankar Tiwari had said.
These activities are part of a series of programmes planned to mark World Senior Citizens’ Day organised on October 1 by NMC in association with Senior Citizens’ Council of Nagpur District.
“When Nagpur Today contacted the Mayor Tiwari, he said that the free Aapli Bus ride was meant only for those senior citizens who possessed ‘Senior Citizen Card.’ “We had specifically instructed this fact during the media interaction that the only ‘Senior Citizen Card’ holders shall be eligible for free ride.”
But the Mayor’s clarification holds no water. All the senior citizens who were denied free ride possesed Aadhar Cards and other identity cards showing their age. These cards could have acted as proof of the category of age the senior citizens fall. Even otherwise, NMC has made only Aadhar card and other cards mandatory for concessional fare to senior citizens and not a specific ‘Senior Citizen Card.’