Tamil Nadu bus fare hike: DMK petition Palaniswamy for rollback, protests continue for fourth day
Protests against the hike in bus fares in Tamil Nadu continued across the state for the fourth day on Tuesday as the main opposition DMK petitioned the Chief Minister K Palaniswamy, seeking its rollback
Chennai: Protests against the hike in bus fares in Tamil Nadu continued across the state for the fourth day on Tuesday as the main opposition DMK petitioned the Chief Minister K Palaniswamy, seeking its rollback.
College students held protests in different parts, including Chennai, Karur, Coimbatore, Thanjavur and Tiruchirappalli, with several of them boycotting classes opposing the government move, police said.
After a hiatus of six years, the state government had on 19 January hiked ticket fares of buses operated by state-run transport corporations and private entities by about 20 to 54.54 percent.
Commuters continued to throng railway stations as several felt travel by trains "was cheaper" compared to bus fares.
Public also demanded that more trains be operated on various shorter distance routes connecting local junctions.
DMK Working President and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly MK Stalin wrote to the chief minister demanding a rollback of the fare hike, saying it affected all sections of the society.
He cited as "mere excuse" the government's defence that the increase was affected due to a host of factors including rising in fuel price, maintenance cost, salaries and pension and purchase of new buses to increase efficiency.
Stalin suggested measures such as streamlining the administration of transport corporations, operating buses on profitable routes and using advertisement for revenue generation to make them economically viable.
Instead of using such 'practical' measures, hiking fares would not ensure the stability of transport corporations, he added.
The fare hike had severely impacted various sections of the society including office-goers and would further affect people already facing general price rise, the DMK leader said.
Stalin had earlier condemned the hike and accused the Palaniswamy-led government of being "sadistic".
The government has hiked fare across categories such as moffusil, city, ordinary, express, ultra deluxe, Volvo and air-conditioned buses.
The hike which came into effect on 20 January has triggered protests from day one with people hitting the streets at many places besides venting their anger on social media platforms against the "steep revision".
Termed as 'inevitable' by the government, the increase came in the wake of the recent eight-day strike by a section of transport employees unions in the state over wage revision. The agitation had severely affected public sector transport.
The unit was sealed by the state government in May 2018, days after 13 agitators were killed in police firing during a violent anti-Sterlite protest
The DMK top leader is expected to call on Governor Banwarilal Purohit and stake a claim to form the government in the southern state
Tamil Nadu Assembly election 2021, Edappadi K Palaniswamy profile: AIADMK leader records hatrick win
Palaniswami polled 1,63,154 votes while his closest rival DMK's T Sampathkumar secured 69,352 votes