Protests against the recent revision in bus fares across Tamil Nadu continued for the fourth day on Tuesday, PTI reported. College students staged demonstrations in Chennai, Karur, Coimbatore, Thanjavur and Tiruchirappall and other parts of the state, the police said.
In Madurai, a few students sustained minor injuries after the police reportedly lathicharged them for trying to block an arterial road, according to The Times of India. In Vellore, around 80 students were detained when they squatted on the Mangalore-Vellore National Highway.
The Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Working President MK Stalin (pictured above) wrote to Chief Minister E Palaniswami, demanding a rollback in the ticket prices. He accused the government of being “sadist”, and suggested streamlining the administration of transport corporations as well as turning to advertising for revenue generation.
The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Party’s Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar had apologised to the people but stressed that a financial crunch was responsible for the increase. This was the second such revision of bus fares since 2000.
The fare for a distance of 10 km has been increased by a rupee for ordinary buses while commuters travelling 30 km in express or semi-deluxe buses have to pay Rs 24 now. Earlier, the fare was Rs 17. The revision is steep in Volvo buses (from Rs 33 to Rs 51), air-conditioned buses (Rs 27 to Rs 42), ultra deluxe buses (Rs 21 to Rs 33) and super deluxe ones (Rs 18 to Rs 27).
The transport unions in the state had gone on an eight-day strike earlier this month, demanding an increase in wages. They withdrew the strike on January 11 after the government agreed to a 2.44-times raise and announced it would release Rs 750 crore to pay the retirement dues of transport workers.