CHENNAI: Amid intensified protests against the bus fare hike, DMK working president MK Stalin on Tuesday met Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to submit the findings of a party committee that went into the factors afflicting the State-run transport corporations.
The report, prepared by a five-member team of senior party leaders headed by a former union minister TR Baalu, contained 27 recommendations to improve the functioning of transport corporations and bail them out.
Talking to reporters after meeting the Chief Minister, Stalin warned that protests would be held if the recommendations were not fulfilled.
“We have taken the initiative as the State machinery remains paralysed. If the recommendations are not fulfilled, we will convene a meeting of all opposition parties and decide the future course of action,” he said. He added that the Chief Minister did not give any assurance on the matter.
The accumulated debt burden of the State transport corporations is estimated at around `22, 000 crores. The government recently effected a steep hike in fares drawing flak. Bowing to pressure, a meagre cut was made. However, the unrelenting opposition parties upped the ante seeking a complete roll back.
The DMK committee has suggested to bear the entire loss suffered by the transport corporations as they were in the service sector. It also wants rationalisation of operation of buses on a single route and retrieving the peak hour services as part of creating a level playing field on a par with private operators.
Utilising space available at bus stands and depots for commercial use to generate revenue, setting up of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporations Central Pool Account and Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporations Coordination Authority and levying 10 per cent GST on fuel are among the recommendations of the panel. The party supported increasing the fare as and when fuel cost went up and in a manner that it did not affect the public.