Staff Reporter

Submit seven-point charter of demands to the Government

Bus operators plan to organise mass fast at all district headquarters in the State on WednesdaySay their condition has worsened after the recent hike in the price of diesel

KOLLAM: Private bus operators have threatened to go on strike if the State Government fails to solve their problems, which, they say, have worsened following the recent increase in diesel prices.

At a press conference here on Friday, Lawrence Babu, general secretary of the Quilon District Private Bus Operators' Association, a constituent of the Kerala State Private Bus Operators' Federation, said a seven-point charter of demands had been submitted to the Government in this connection.

Pressing for conceding the demands, the bus operators would organise a mass fast at all district headquarters on Wednesday, followed by a demonstration in front of the Secretariat on July 12. Mr. Babu said the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Left Democratic Front had organised hartals in protest against the increase in fuel prices. On both days, the private bus operators were the losers. He said the operators did not need hartals, and what they wanted was only a solution to their problems. During the past four years, the price of diesel had more than doubled. But increasing the bus fares alone would not solve their problems. The prices of spare parts had gone up and the number of those travelling by private buses had come down.

Even in such a situation, fresh permits for private bus operations were being given. Added to this was concession for students. The agreement was that concession to students should stand at 25 per cent of the fare. But today, it stood at 16 per cent of the fare.

Moreover, the concession was being rampantly misused. The bus operators were willing to extend the concession to genuine cases. But most of those utilising the facility were not entitled to it, he alleged.