Even though the government had categorically stated that the State road transport corporations will not increase bus fare in the wake of the diesel price hike, the transport corporations are preparing a strong case for a fare hike.
The transport corporations have claimed that if fare hike is not given effect to, they will have to bear about Rs. 300 crore burden every year on account of diesel price hike and recent revision of wages of employees.
KSRTC Managing Director N. Manjunatha Prasad told The Hindu, “Unlike many other State transport corporation which are supported by their State governments, transport corporations in the State are allowed to function purely like commercial entities. If we have to continue to give improved services, we have to generate sufficient revenue as well as surplus. Therefore, without increasing the fares, the transport corporations cannot run the show.” To whether transport corporations have approached the government seeking an increase in fares, Mr. Prasad said that they will do it on Wednesday. He, however, did not divulge the quantum of hike.
Principal Secretary (Transport) P. Ravi Kumar said the transport corporations were authorised in 2000 to resort to fare revision whenever there was an increase in diesel price and revision in dearness allowance of employees. “Thus, there is no need for the transport corporations to seek government’s permission to increase the fares,” he said.
However, Mr. Ravi Kumar had, during the government’s meeting with trade union leaders on bus strike on September 13, announced: “The government cannot permit increase in bus fare in the light of prevailing drought even though the corporations would have to incur additional financial burden.”
About the trade union’s stand on fare hike, KSRTC Staff and Workers Federation general secretary H.V. Ananthasubba Rao said that at a time when there has been actual financial burden on the transport corporations, a fare hike cannot be opposed.
There is a way out, Mr. Rao said. The government could consider waiving State duties on diesel supplied to all transport corporations. Also, the government could waive road tax paid by BMTC, KSRTC and NWKRTC.