Freedom Fighters and those who had participated in the anti-Hindi agitation in 1965 and their spouses are give free bus passes to travel in buses run by Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC). Though the pass stipulates that a holder can travel wherever TNSTC buses run (even outside Tamil Nadu) the pass holders are not allowed to travel beyond Hosur in Krishnagiri district.
Most of them, above 70 years, rarely travel in TNSTC buses to visit their kith and kin working in Bangalore.
S. Nagarathinam, wife of Dr. Annaji, a socialist and freedom fighter, was one among the beneficiary under the Freedom Fighter category who explained the hardship to The Hindu recently.
She said, she was travelling in a TNSTC bus from Krishnagiri to Bangalore on April 18, 2011 at around 12.45 a.m. When she showed the bus pass issued by the General Manager, TNSTC, Dharmapuri, the bus conductor told her it was valid only within the state.
She had to buy a ticket (Ticket No: 00239050 DO 900466) for Rs. 32.
“My husband had sacrificed most part of his life for the freedom struggle. Bus crew insulted me in front of passengers,'' she said.
She had submitted a representation to the then District Collector V. Arun Roy on April 23, 2011.
According to the conditions mentioned in the pass, the pass holders can travel in any TNSTC bus, irrespective of whether it is operated within the state or outside. She said she paid the fare for another freedom fighter too.
When contacted, an official of commercial department of the TNSTC Salem Division's Dharmapuri Office told The Hindu on Sunday that on a complaint received from a freedom fighter, the TNSTC has written to the government to clarify whether freedom fighters can be allowed to travel to other states with the free bus pass.
He, however, clarified that these pass holders can travel in any type of bus including ultra-deluxe except air-conditioned ones.