Private bus operators have threatened to go on strike from October 14 if the Government failed to effect fare hike to cushion the steep increase in diesel prices.
The operators under the All Odisha Private Bus Owners Association on Wednesday issued an ultimatum, following an emergency governing body meeting, to cripple the passenger transport system in the State by withdrawing more than 12,000 vehicles.
The Association held that plying of buses under the present circumstances had become untenable due to the high cost of operation. Around 3,000 buses have already been grounded as the owners are not able to sustain the costs, association secretary Debendra Sahoo said.
The operators have also come down heavily on the Government for dilly-dallying on the issue even as the fares of the City Bus service were revised immediately after the diesel price hike. The fares for City buses have been increased by a whopping ` 5 for a distance above 22 km. “If the Urban Development Department could allow such a huge hike why is the Transport Department shying away from mitigating our problems,” Sahoo rued.
They also complained that the Technical Committee of the Transport Department, which met on Wednesday, failed to take a decision on the fare hike. It is scheduled to meet again on October 6, and if it still does not finalise the revision, the buses will go off the roads from October 14, the Association warned.