The hike in fuel prices has left the citizens in the State capital flummoxed. Though the possibility of a hike in rates was in the air, the steep hike had left many speechless and fuming, as the cascading effect is bound to add to the already spiralling price rise.

The hike will certainly deal a double blow to the common man with transport operators, including auto-rickshaws and goods trucks owners gearing up to pass on the additional burden to them. Even the RTC might be forced enhance the city bus fares, as it anticipates an additional burden of Rs. 15 crore per annum in the city region alone. The autorickshaw drivers, who have already been demanding an upward revision of auto fares from existing minimum fare of Rs.12 to Rs.20, are now planning to launch an agitation. Their argument is buttressed by the fact that already auto fares have been hiked in Delhi and Mumbai recently.

The Andhra Pradesh Motor Operators Welfare Association Secretary M. Dayanand reminds that the auto fares were revised two years ago in the city. “It is imperative for the Government to revise fares, as prices of essential commodities have almost doubled and now comes the fuel rate hike”, he said.

The Hyderabad Goods Transport Association secretary Ram Kumar Rathi maintained that there was no other option but to pass on the burden to public. The transport sector is badly hit and in particular the goods transport operators are severely affected. Transport freight charges for a conventional six-wheel truck is Rs. 25 per km and given the hike in diesel prices, the freight charges could be increased to Rs. 30 per km, he explained.

At this rate, goods transportation to New Delhi in a truck would cost Rs. 48,000 as against the current rate of Rs.42,000. This hike is inevitable as transport operators have to bear additional costs like the permit fee, crew salaries, operational costs and other consumables.

Everyday nearly 9,000 trucks transport essential commodities in and out of the city and the maintenance costs for each truck fluctuate around Rs.1,750 per day. “All this put together, there could be a hike of at least 20 per cent in transport freight charges,” predicted Mr. Rathi. For the RTC Greater Hyderabad Zone, the burden could be around Rs.15 crore a year. The fleet of 3,200 city buses, guzzles around 1.8 lakh litres of diesel every day.

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