Bus operators demand hike in passenger fare

Central Chronicle News
Bhilai, Jun 28: On the call of Chhattisgarh Yatayat Mahasangh, the private bus operators of Durg District staged day-long demonstration at New Bus Stand in Durg pressing a charter of two demands. They are demanding a permanent policy for hike of passenger fare as well as amendment of the “Non Use” rules from the Chhattisgarh Motor Vehicle Rules. It was the first stage of phased struggle chalked out by Chhattisgarh Yatayat Mahasangh, the biggest organisation of private bus operators in the state.
CG Yatayat Mahasangh Chief Advisor Advocate Shivesh Singh informed that all the bus operators of the state are facing acute financial problems due to lockdowns and restrictions imposed during the Corona transition period. Even after lifting of lockdown, the bus owners are unable to operate the vehicles due to increased operation costs and shortage of passengers. He informed that the passenger fare was last revised when diesel was available at Rs 60 per litre. Today it has increased to Rs 96 per litre which has significantly increased the operation cost of the buses and reduced the profit margin. There are around 12000 private buses of 9000 operators in Chhattisgarh. About 1.08 lakh families are dependent on this business for their livelihood. In the last 15 months, about 2500 buses have been confiscated by the Financers as the operators were unable to repay the loan instalments during the Corona period. About 1000 operators were unable to file the “Non Use” applications as they suffered Novel Coronavirus infection. Now they are unable to pay the taxes and their buses exist in dilapidated state. About 300 bus operators have left this business due to financial problems and have turned to small occupations like selling fruits, vegetables or cooked eatables. The Toll Tax, 100% hike in insurance rates; and withdrawal of 12% VAT with imposition of 28% GST on chassis, body, tyres and spares have increased the operation cost of the buses. The bus operators are demanding immediate hike in passenger fare and framing a permanent policy for fare hike in proportion with the increasing fuel prices, etc. They are also demanding amendment in the Motor Vehicle Rules under which a bus can be put to “non-use” only for two months. Advocate Singh informed that if the state government did not take positive initiative over the demands, the bus operators will continue their phased agitation and take “Jal Samadhi” in River Kharun on July 14.
CG Yatayat Mahasangh State Senior Vice President Gurmeet Singh Sandhu, Chief Advisor Shivesh Singh, Sanjay Ravte, Nitesh Sori, Rohan Tamrakar, Lokeshwar Rajput, Sumit Tamrakar, B Ramarao, Amrendra Pandey, Sikander Singh Shekhon, Karanjeet Singh Bal, Shankar Hirvey, Salim Khan, Sanjay Sahu, Prabhat Tamrakar, Markush Nanda and others were present at the dharna spot in Durg.

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