BMTC officials say they have not yet received funds from the Women and Child Welfare dept while the latter has blamed the Central government for the delay.

9 months on BMTC plan of breastfeeding centres in bus stops yet to take off
news Public Health Friday, July 13, 2018 - 16:31

In September 2017, the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) had announced an ambitious project of setting up women’s lounges in major bus stands across the city, which would have separate spaces for lactating mothers to feed their babies.

Nine months since the proposal was tabled, the project has not moved forward and BMTC officials say they have not yet received funds from the Women and Child Welfare Department for the project.

“The project was supposed to receive money from Nirbhaya Fund. BMTC had sent the proposal to the Women and Child Welfare Department, who had included it in the list of programmes to be introduced under the Nirbhaya Fund. So far, we have not received any update in this regard,” a BMTC official said.

According to officials in the Women and Child Welfare Department, a proposal was sent to the central government requesting it to grant funds under the Nirbhaya Fund for various projects for women safety and welfare. This included the proposal for breastfeeding lounges for women.

“We had requested a total of Rs 56 crore under the Nirbhaya Fund from the state government for various projects. For the lounges, we had requested Rs 2.25 crore. The central government said that it would bear only 60% of the cost and the remaining 40% would have to be borne by the state government. The state government has not taken any decision in this regard till now and that’s why the proposal has not moved forward,” a senior official with the Women and Child Welfare Department said.

The official said that the Transport Department was approached to share costs, however, with lack of funds in the Transport Department, the proposal has remained on the back burner.

“Till now only 25% of the funds have been released by the government to the Transport Department. We are struggling to find money for giving free bus passes. How will we give money for this? Besides, the central government is supposed to grant the money under Nirbhaya Fund and they are not willing to pay,” an official from the Transport Department said.

According to BMTC PRO Channabasappa, the proposal was made to ease the burden on women who travel frequently in buses.

“There are no breastfeeding centres in any train or bus stations currently. Women commuters are inconvenienced due to lack of privacy. That’s why the plan was introduced. We have been demanding money for the project and we have been assured that the money will reach us in a fortnight,” the official added.