Committee report to come up before next Cabinet meeting

An increase in the fares of all classes of stage carriers, both of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation and private, is on the cards with the State government taking steps to act on the recommendations of the Ramachandran committee on fare revision.

The committee, in its report submitted to the State Transport Commissioner a few days ago, recommended an increase in the minimum fare from Rs. 6 to Rs. 7 and an increase of five paisa for every km in view of the rise in the diesel price. It is learnt that the concessional rate for students will not be revised because, otherwise, student organisations will launch agitations.

Official sources said here on Thursday that the committee’s report had been handed over to Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed for action. The report will come up before the next Cabinet meeting. On receiving the approval of the Cabinet, the Transport Department can notify the revised fares. The government had last revised the fares on November 12, 2012. Since then, the diesel price had gone up by over Rs. 9 a litre, landing the corporation and the bus operators in a crisis.

The private bus operators had placed a demand before the committee that the minimum fare be increased to Rs. 8. The cash-strapped corporation had demanded an increase in bus fares to offset the rising cost of diesel.

The private bus operators, on Wednesday, postponed an indefinite strike demanding fare revision following the assurance of the Minister that the government would soon take a decision on the committee’s report.

KSRTC sources said the increase in minimum fare by Re. 1 would not be sufficient as the diesel price had been going up and the utility was buying the fuel at market rates.

However, the increase in fares would come as a respite for the corporation, which is finding it difficult even to pay pension.

At present, the minimum fare of ordinary mofussil service is Rs. 6, fast-passenger Rs. 8, superfast Rs. 12, super-express Rs. 17, super-deluxe and semi-sleeper Rs. 25, and luxury, hi-tech and air-conditioned and Volvo Rs. 35.

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