Nearly 30 per cent of the 42,000-odd buses in West Bengal went off the roads on Monday, following a flip flop by the State administration over fare revision.

After a prolonged delay, the State Government had announced a bus fare revision on October 31. The last revision had been in 2010.

But for transporters, the respite was short lived as most of the increases were cut back on November 16, to satisfy popular demand.

In its original announcement, the State had allowed an increase in fares along with reduction in stages (in kilometres). In the revised chart, operators were allowed only one rupee additional fare at every stage prevailing before October 31.

According to Tapan Banerjee, joint secretary of Joint Council of Bus Syndicate, the Government should maintain the fare-hike announced on October 31 for a better transport system in the State.

“Private bus operators run 90 per cent of the total buses across the State. So, the State Government should take into consideration the rising costs of operations incurred by them,” Banerjee said.

The operators had earlier decided to go on an indefinite strike to demand a fare hike following increase in fuel prices.

Meanwhile, CPI (M) politburo member and Leader of Opposition, Surya Kanta Mishra, said “anarchy” was prevailing in the State over bus fare-hike. There was no uniformity in the fare hike announced by the State Government; increased fares charged by the conductors and reports on bus fare hike in the newspapers.

ayan.pramanik@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 19, 2012)
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