Staff Reporter

KOZHIKODE: The demand for reducing bus, autorickshaw and taxi fares and prices of essential commodities is gaining momentum with several organisations and the public joining the fray.

The price of petrol was reduced from Rs.52.62 per litre as in July 2008 to Rs.47.28 per litre from December 6 in the Kozhikode market. The price of diesel decreased from Rs.37.67 per litre to Rs.35.49 per litre in the same period. The Centre also gave clear indications that the prices may go down further in the coming days while announcing the recent cut.

“This decrease in prices of petroleum products is welcome, but the government has to reduce bus, autorickshaw and taxi fares and prices of essential commodities. Also, the prices of LPG cylinders and kerosene have not been reduced. The reduction in prices is essential for balancing the family budget. A reduction of just Rs.2 for a trip in an autorickshaw for a person will mean much,” says Prameela A., a homemaker.

Bus rates were revised in July, making the minimum charge for ordinary buses Rs.4; an increase of Re.1. The minimum fare for fast passenger buses was increased from Rs.4 to Rs.5. “We had then pointed out that the increase in bus fares was too high. It should be rolled back,” says U. Ramachandran, general secretary of the Kozhikode District Consumer Protection Committee. He said that the government should take steps to bring down the prices of essential commodities.

The minimum fare for autorickshaws was hiked to Rs.12 from Rs.10. The minimum fare for taxis was also hiked to Rs.65. The silver lining for the issue is an assurance from Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan in Kozhikode on Saturday that a high-level meeting of officials and other stakeholders would be convened soon to take a decision on cutting the recent hike in bus, taxi and autorickshaw fares.