Pvt bus operators seek fare hike

Bhubaneswar: Close on the heels of Monday’s diesel price hike, All Odisha Private Bus Owners' Association on Tuesday urged the State Government to increase bus fare. 
Citing about their May proposal to increase the fare after the fuel price was hiked for the fifth time in 2013, they wanted the Government to take an early decision in this regard.
“We had submitted a memorandum before the Government in May to consider a fare hike as it becomes very difficult to run the vehicles in loss. The last price was effected in November 2012 when the diesel price was around Rs 49 and it has now touched Rs 53. The Transport department also think that this is the seventh increase in diesel rates in 2013,” said Debasis Nayak, spokesperson of the association. 
The body has also suggested the State transport department to implement an auto-regulating system for bus fares. Under this mechanism, bus fares would be fixed on the basis of fluctuation of diesel prices. 
"Since every time we can’t go for a strike or request the Government for a fare hike when it comes to fuel price rise, we want a permanent arrangement for this and under the auto-regulating system bus fares will be fixed proportionately with diesel price fluctuations. We want an early implementation of the recommendations of the high-level technical committee of the transport department," Nayak added. 
Following submission of the association’s proposal in May, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had sought opinion from the Transport Commissioner through chief secretary. Last month, the commissioner had asked a technical committee to find out a permanent solution on this issue.
Notably, on Monday, oil companies hiked diesel prices by 50 paise per litre, excluding VAT. This is the seventh hike in diesel price since January when the central government authorised state-owned oil firms to increase prices by up to 50 paisa per litre every month till entire losses on the fuel are wiped out.
Sources said, there are as many as 14,000 private buses plying in the State.