The joint action council formed by various organisations representing private bus operators in the State has decided to stick to their decision to hold a token strike on Thursday pressing for their demand for fare hike in the light of increasing operating costs. Council chairman P.V. Chacko Pullathil and convener J.P. Jose told mediapersons here on Tuesday that they would participate in the talks called by Minister for Transport Jose Thettayil on Wednesday.

Their major demands include increase in students' ticket rate, a general hike in fare in accordance with the increase in operating costs, constitution of a regulatory committee to study the issues in the transportation sector and regulation of services by the State-owned Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).

Indefinite stir

Unless the government takes a sympathetic approach to the problems faced by the bus operators, they would be forced to go on indefinite strike from August 3, they said.

The council leaders called upon the authorities to take the cue from other States who decided to forgo additional tax revenue accrual on account of price hike of petroleum products. There had been a spurt in operating costs during the past three months which was aggravated by the recent hike in prices of petroleum products. “The operating cost has been increased by at least eight per cent during the period,” they said. This includes prices of oil, grease, spare parts and tyres.

Fare for students

The concessional bus fare for students is still 50 paise, which was fixed years back. Though the State government had made an undertaking before the Kerala High Court that it would consider revising the subsidised rates, nothing had been decided so far, they said.

During the talks between the joint action council and the government authorities held on March 9, 2010, the latter had promised to take a comprehensive look at the issues raised by the council and to form a regulatory committee for the purpose within one month. “Even after four months the authorities have not formed the committee,” they said.

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