Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, June 19:
With the hike in diesel price, the private bus owners are all set to send an ultimatum to the Odisha government to either go for an upward revision of the existing fares or face a complete shut-down of bus operations across the state – a move that is bound to affect the commuters either way.
The All Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association (AOPBOA) will hold its meeting in next week to decide next course of action. The AOPBOA members are detrmined that they would not ply buses on the road if the government does not agree to hike bus fares.
“A few days ago, we had proposed to the Transport minister and secretary and chief secretary to hike bus fares as the diesel price has gone up. Since the last bus fare revision in October 2013, diesel price has been increased by Rs 6.22 per litre. But, we have been operating buses without any fare revision, thereby incurring heavy losses to the tune of about Rs 800 to 1000 per bus per day,” said AOPBOA general secretary Debendra Sahu.
With the hike in diesel price, the price of other petroleum products will also go up, further affecting the bus operators, he said.
Informing that the technical committee headed by Transport commissioner is yet to take up their matter, he said they have no option but to remain off -road as they can not afford to run the buses any longer with such heavy losses.
At present, the fare for ordinary buses is 59 paisa per kilometre, for express buses 62 paisa, deluxe buses 82 paisa and AC buses Re 1.
The all Odisha association, which has 58 affiliated bodies across the state, operates around 14000 buses in the state.
The commuters are also going to feel the heat of increased diesel price. While the Oil companies are increasing the prices of petroleum products every month, the Odisha government has increased VAT by 2% on diesel and petrol in the new budget.