Motorists, traders, autorickshaw drivers considering alternatives

The recent fuel price hike has caused concerns among residents as they fear it would soon have a cascading effect on transportation and grocery.

According to petrol pump owners in the city, the cost of petrol has been increased for the ninth time since February last year. Several segments of people, be it traders, commuters or auto rickshaw drivers, are worried about tackling the additional burden in view of the price hike. The new price of one litre of petrol is Rs.63.36.

The price of diesel, which was last hiked in September last year, remains at Rs.40.16 per litre.

Diesel price has also been revised four times over the past one year. The rates tend to vary mildly in the suburbs.

The frequent increase in the price of petrol has made several motorists ponder over alternatives such as switching to public transportation or share auto rickshaws.

Sanjeev, a motorist said that the price of petrol has gone up by about Rs.11 per litre in the past one year.

“With the poor roads and traffic jams, I incur additional expense driving to and fro office on my two-wheeler,” says Maya Mathew, a commuter adding that the hike is unjustified.

L. Anuradha, a resident of Anna Nagar, said autorickshaw drivers charge exorbitantly even for a short distance of two km. “I used to pay Rs.20 from 18{+t}{+h} Main Road to Fifth Avenue six months ago. Autorickshaw drivers now demand Rs.40. I have decided to either walk the distance or take the less frequent MTC bus to reach my daughter's school,” she said.

Traders, big and small, are considering alternative measures with the hike in commodity prices and transport essential to any business. Fruit Shop on Greams Road, which runs a chain of 16 outlets in Chennai, spends Rs. 60,000 to 80,000 procuring fruits and other essential items such as milk on a daily basis.

With the frequent increase, it is planning to work out an equation where fruits can be bought three times in a week.

J.Seshasayanam, general secretary of Madras Metro Auto Drivers Association, said the government has fixed the meter charge at Rs.14 for first two kms and Rs.6 for every additional km. But, it is becoming hard to ply for that rate.

“We want the government to fix minimum rate of Rs.25 for the first two km and increase it Rs.10 for every additional km. There are plans to go on strike soon,” he said.

(With inputs from Liffy Thomas)

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Liffy ThomasJune 28, 2012

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