Various organisations held protests on Saturday against the rise in BMTC bus fares.
The Bangalore Bus Prayaanikara Vedike (BBPV) held a protest at Platform 20 in Majestic Bus Stand. The protesters later took a bus to Vidhana Soudha to meet Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy.
They later presented a memorandum to the Chief Secretary.
“This Association was formed collectively in July 2013 to protest against the spurt in bus fares in June that year. In the last two to three years, the fares have been hiked five times. The State government must not collect tax from a public service corporation. Currently, the Corporation pays the state `185 crore as tax to the government,” noted Vinay Sreenivasa, a member of BBPV.
Another member, N Jayaraman, said a similar situation in Brazil had led to a mini revolution. He said, “Eighty per cent of the population uses buses to commute and the state does not support this service. On the other hand, a small minority travels by metros or airbuses and those services are state-funded.”
Ramdas, a member of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) said at a protest held in the city, “Our basic demand is to seek the right to mobility for the people. It is a directive principle in our Constitution that protects the right to livelihood. With eviction of slums around the city, the working class is already pushed to the outskirts. They can earn a living only by commuting. With such outrageous hikes, their livelihood is endangered.”
About 100 members from the Aam Aadmi Party also gathered at the Shantinagar Bus Stand to protest the bus fare hike.
“Why does this have to be done immediately after elections? This raises eyebrows. There has been no increase in petrol or diesel prices recently. Instead, there has been a decline by `1 in petrol prices and 50 paise in diesel from the last month.” said, Mahantesh, the spokesperson of the party.
The Bangalore District Committee of the Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) - SUCI(C) also staged a demonstration at Mysore Bank Circle.
V N Rajashekar, Bangalore District Committee member said, “The common people are already burdened with unprecedented price hikes of almost all essential commodities. The BMTC bus fare hike comes like a bolt from the blue. Lakhs of garment workers in Bangalore, whose monthly salary is around `5,000, are forced to shell out nearly 30 per cent of their salary on transportation. It appears that the government has turned a deaf ear to the woes of the common people. Having spent crores of public money on unnecessary projects, BMTC is now shifting the entire burden of its maladministration and corruption on to the common people. This is daylight robbery.”