Tamil Nadu govt hikes bus fares: Commuters take to streets to condemn move; BJP, DMK demand rollback

The Tamil Nadu government on Friday hiked the fares of buses under state run transport corporations and private entities by 20 to 54.54 percent, provoking anger among people and setting off a series of protests.

Commuters took to the streets in several part of the state, including Coimbatore, Tiruchi, and Tiruvarur, reported The Hindu. A road roko was organised in front of the bus stand in Shoolagiri demanding that the state government take back the price hike, the report added.

A group of villagers near Dindigul also staged a road roko. The protesters, comprising mainly of daily wage earners, said the new fare implemented from Saturday took away a chunk of their meagre income.

 Tamil Nadu govt hikes bus fares: Commuters take to streets to condemn move; BJP, DMK demand rollback

Representational image. Getty images

A wage labourer, who uses this service on a daily basis, told News18 that the hike will make it more difficult for him to make ends meet. Another commuter quoted in the report said, "Even during the (bus) strike, most of us were stranded as other modes of commuting were expensive. Now, with the bus fare revision, share auto rates may well be cheaper. We urge the chief minister to roll back the fare hike. We can't pay double the ticket price for commuting on a regular basis."

Apart from commuters, political leaders from the BJP and DMK also announced on Sunday that they will protest against the bus fare hike, as per India Today. BJP state president Tamilisai Soundrarajan was quoted in the report as saying, "The bus fare was revised without any notification and this is affecting the people. The concerned ministers will have to review the tariff."

Meanwhile, DMK working president MK Stalin has accused the Palaniswamy-led government of being "sadist" and said the steep hike to the tune of Rs 3,600 crore a year was unacceptable and was a 'thunderbolt' imposed on the people.

"I strongly condemn the AIADMK government for imposing this heavy burden on the people, whose buying power has already been diminished," he said.

The PMK said a state-wide protest demonstration would be held on 25 January, seeking immediate roll back of hike.

PMK chief Ramadoss said Omni bus operators already charge higher fares and that they planned to further increase it. The hike was to facilitate profiteering by private operators, he alleged.

Sidelined AIADMK leader and RK Nagar MLA TTV Dhinakaran (also spelled as Dinakaran) also demanded that the hike be withdrawn.

"People will not accept the bus fare hike. The government should withdraw the hike," he told reporters.

CPM state secretary G Ramakrishnan said the party would stage dharnas and hold protest demonstrations across Tamil Nadu on 22 January against the bus fare hike.

Seeking an immediate rollback, he said the government's announcement of forming a committee to look at restructuring the fare structure in future was 'a big betrayal' of people.

The Tamil Nadu government hiked the fares of buses under state run transport corporations and also announced a fund for accident compensation and prevention, besides a panel to go into restructuring of bus fares in future.

The fare has been hiked for buses across categories viz moffusil, city, ordinary, express, deluxe, bypass-non-stop, ultra deluxe, air-conditioned and Volvo modes, an official release said.

While the minimum hike is in moffusil ordinary category, where the fare of Rs 5 for 10 km would now be Rs 6 (20 percent hike), the highest is in Volvo buses, where the fare of Rs 33 for 30 km will now go up to Rs 51 (54.54 percent hike).

In town buses the fare has been hiked from a minimum of Rs 3 to Rs 5 and the maximum from Rs 12 to Rs 19.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Jan 21, 2018 17:04:31 IST