The private bus operators of the State on Friday night served a 15-day ultimatum to the Government for a raise in the bus fare failing which they would stop operation for an indefinite period.
About 250 members of the All Odisha Private Bus Owners Association met here and discussed the action plan after they failed to elicit any response from the Government. The association had submitted a memorandum to the Government on May 27 seeking a hike in the bus fare in view of continuous rise in diesel price.
Currently, the bus fare for different categories stands at 55 paise per km for ordinary, 58 paise for express, 76 paise for deluxe and 96 paise for air-conditioned deluxe. The last raise was effected in October last year. Since last raise, the bus operators argued, diesel price has been hiked by Rs 4.70 paise from Rs 49.73 to Rs 54.43 in seven phases. “Diesel prices apart, prices of tyres, spare parts, chassis, body as well as insurance value have gone up and it is difficult to sustain at the old bus fare,” spokesperson of the association Debashis Nayak said.
The association claimed that it has been drawing attention of the Government about the need for a hike for past several months. Since Rath Yatra was scheduled in June, the operators refrained from any agitational plans, Nayak said adding it is time for a revision in the fare structure.
The general body discussed the entire gamut of issues and though most members wanted to go in for a strike with immediate effect, it decided to serve a 15-day notice to the Government.
If no decision is taken by August 25, all the private buses will stay off the roads for an indefinite period from August 26, Nayak said.
The private operators dominate passenger transport system in State with about 14,000 buses while the Government’s fleet is about 300. A technical committee of the Government prescribes bus fare structure.