Chennai: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and its allies in Tamil Nadu have unanimously decided to sit for a protest on Monday, opposing the recent bus fare hike in the state. The decision was taken during an all-party meet chaired by Opposition leader MK Stalin at DMK headquarters.
“Across Tamil Nadu, DMK and its alliance partners will hold protest to press upon total rollback of hiked bus fares. Partial reduction in bus fares by the government is nothing but an eyewash. It can't be accepted and is also not correct. We demand total rollback of prices,” said Stalin on Sunday.
After a hiatus of six years, the AIADMK government had on January 19 hiked ticket fares of buses operated by state-run transport corporations and private entities by about 20 to 54.54 per cent.
The move drew flak from the public and political parties.
Following the stiff opposition, the government partially rolled back the hike in bus fares, reducing up to 20% in selected services.
Minimum bus fare in Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) in Chennai has been brought down from Rs 5 to Rs 4 and the fare between two stages has also been reduced by one rupee, said a release from the state government.
The DMK on Saturday staged state-wide agitations against the hike in bus fares and has also warned of intensifying protests if the revision was not rolled back.
"The chief minister had said the hike was effected with anguish. If indeed so, it should be immediately withdrawn. Else, you (Palaniswami) have got no option left other than to resign," Stalin said.
Stalin said the January 19 increase in bus fares had come as a "jolt" to the ordinary people, adding many of them such as daily wage labourers were now forced to spend a large part of their earnings towards commuting in buses.
"I had written to the chief minister four days back, asking him to withdraw the hike, and that the matter should be discussed in the state assembly for which the House should be convened. But they are only giving accounts of losses (suffered by transport corporations) but have no time for remedial measures," he said.
The DMK has, therefore, constituted a panel under senior party leader and former Union minister T R Baalu to probe ways to reduce bus fares, Stalin said.
With agency inputs