Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 27:
The Odisha government is waiting for the technical committee to submit its report to take a decision on the quantum of downward revision of bus fares in the state, sTransport minister Ramesh Majhi said today.
“The technical committee has already met, but is yet to submit its report. On its submission the government will study and take a decision on the quantum of reduction in bus fares. They (private bus owners) have been demanding an automatic mechanism for determination of bus fares vis-à-vis increase and decrease of fuel prices. Our officers had visited other states to study similar mechanisms in practice there. They will be also submitting their reports and after studying all these aspects, the government will take a decision on the matter”, the minister told the media.
Reacting to the minister’s statement today Debendra Sahu, general secretary of the Private Bus Owners Association said; “We have no objection to reduction of bus fare. We hope that the government adheres to the automatic fare fixation mechanism suggested by us, which will be beneficial to us as well as the public”.
“The government should fix a certain paise rise/fall per kilometre for every rise/fall in fuel prices, which would make it easier for change in bus fares from the next day of rise/fall of diesel prices,” he said
Sahu said that he hoped that though the government does not have the automatic fare fixation mechanism in place, it can very well use the 13 parameters presently used for fixing fares to determine quantum of fare rise/fall vis-à-vis rise and fall in price of inputs.
At present the per km fare is 64 paise in ordinary buses, 70 paise in express buses, 87 paise in deluxe buses and Rs 1.08 in AC deluxe buses.
The demand for reduction in bus fares in the state gained momentum after the Central government freed diesel from administered price mechanism after a fall in international crude oil prices resulting in a drop in diesel prices by Rs 3.63 per litre.
The technical committee meeting on Saturday, presided over by Transport commissioner M Akshaya, was unanimous on the need to go for a reduction in the bus fare in the state after the fall in diesel prices.
The meeting was also attended by the representatives of the private bus owners association. While expressing their willingnessto accept a reduction of fares, representatives of the bus owners’ body had blamed the state government for not carrying out its proposal to introduce automatic fare fixation system in the state.