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Wheeling and dealing: Working women to rev their way into the future

Wheeling and dealing: Working women to rev their way into the future

By Imran Adnan

LAHORE: Punjab’s working ladies are all set to rev their way into the future as the government plans to provide a Rs90 million subsidy on motorcycles under its Women on Wheels programme.

The objective is to increase women’s mobility and access to transport.

Chief Minister’s Special Monitoring Unit (SMU) Senior Member Salman Sufi told The Express Tribune that a pilot project is being rolled out initially across five districts of Punjab, including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Sargodha and Rawalpindi. Depending on the success of the pilot project, the initiative will be extended to other districts of Punjab, he added.

In collaboration with City Traffic Police and Punjab Transport Department, Sufi said the SMU already provided motorcycle riding training to some 3,000 women from selected districts. He hoped these motorcycle riders would hit the roads in the next couple of months as the procurement of motorcycles, paperwork and other formalities are underway.

Project proposal documents indicate the government will pay Rs86.88 million on account of an upfront subsidy, two months’ markup and finance the media campaign during the current financial year. Rs3.11 million will be paid on account of the markup subsidy over the next financial year.

Documents show the government will procure 3,026 Honda CD-70 motorcycles for the pilot project for which it will provide Rs26,435 subsidy per unit. In addition, Rs10 million has been earmarked for an extensive media campaign for the promotion of the scheme.

As per the proposed payment plan, an applicant has to provide 30% down payment (Rs20,050) of the motorcycle cost (Rs67,500), while the government will pay a 37% upfront subsidy (Rs24,975) and the remaining 33% (Rs22,275) will be financed through the Bank of Punjab. A successful applicant will have to pay a monthly installment of Rs2,110. The applicant will also has to pay Rs3,375 as registration fee, Rs3,375 for insurance cover and Rs3,000 for documentation.

As per the project proposal, the government will provide capital subsidy and successful applicants will pay the remaining cost of the motorcycle in installments with zero mark-up on the amount being financed by the Bank of Punjab. Helmets, leg guards and canvas carrier bags shall also be provided for safety and convenience of the riders.

All beneficiaries of the Women on Wheels initiative should have a Punjab domicile and be aged between 18 and 40 years.

To obtain motorcycles under the project, beneficiaries have to produce parent/guardian consent, a valid CNIC, driving license, education qualification (minimum matriculation) and salary/income statement showing a minimum income of Rs20,000.

Though the Punjab government is heavily investing on transport infrastructure, the Women-on-Wheels project document policymakers accept that existing facilities do not cater to the travel needs of women commuters.

Women from all walks of live are facing challenges with respect to accessing their desired locations.

Policymakers believe the project will also have a positive impact on the environment as women’s dependency on other modes of transport, such as tri-wheelers or four-wheelers will be reduced. Though the project is little delayed already, implementation is scheduled for between March 2017 and February 2018, documents indicate.

The Express Tribune

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