• otv
Suryakant Jena

Fuel price in India is making new unwanted records everyday and has become the leading point of discussion for the common man across the country.

In Odisha, the compounding effect of fuel price hike continues to pile up more miseries on people with the rise in fares of public transport. As per the data available with OTV, in the last 20 days, petrol prices have jumped over Rs 4.50 while diesel has now become dearer by Rs 5.49 since September 28.

Looking at the statistics of the last six months, between April and September, the fuel prices alone have registered a hike of over Rs 15.

As a ripple effect, Odisha government on Saturday hiked the fares for all five categories of bus services in the State. As per the notification issued by the Transport Department, the fare for ordinary and express bus service categories will now be 3 paise more while in case of AC and Deluxe buses, the fares have been hiked by 6 paise per km. 

Not only buses, owners and operators of auto-rickshaws, often considered the lifeline of public transport in most urban settlements of the State, have also effected hike in travel charges for passengers. 

For example, a passenger boarding an auto in the State Capital city Bhubaneswar now shells out Rs 20 from pocket for a 2 km ride. The situation while continues to burn holes in the pockets of customers, bus owners and public transport operators have expressed their helplessness. 

Dillip Kumar Das, a traveller who often takes buses for his daily commute, says he cannot believe his eyes to witness such a situation unfolding before his eyes. For a middle-class household, the fuel price hike and bus fare rise is a serious issue because it is more agonising than anything else," said Das.

Cuttack Private Bus Owners' Association member Priyabrata Tripathy has called upon the Centre and State governments to reduce their share of taxes to provide some relief to the common man struggling to cope up with the burning issue.

Kartik, an auto-rickshaw operator expressed his helplessness while narrating the situation. "People are not willing to ride autos due to rising fares but we have no other option. We just cannot bear losses while trying to run our vehicles with high fuel rates and less fares," said Kartik.

As per the data obtained from the Utkal Petroleum Dealers' Association, the basic price of fuel after refining cost stands somewhere around Rs 45.44 per litre. Then the Centre levies Rs 32.90 tax on every litre of petrol while the Odisha government puts Rs 25.04 as VAT. 

Likewise, in the case of diesel, the Centre and State charge Rs 31.20 and Rs 22.07 VAT respectively on the basic cost of Rs 47.17 per litre.

As per sources, petrol rate touched the ceiling of Rs 112.36 per litre while diesel stood at Rs 109.50 per litre in Malkangiri, the highest in Odisha as on Sunday (October 17).

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