Private bus operators in Kerala on Thursday announced an indefinite strike beginning Friday, saying the fake hike that the state government announced was insufficient, PTI reported. The bus operators have also announced to hold an indefinite hunger strike in front of the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on February 19 to press for their demands.
On Wednesday, the government increased the minimum fare for ordinary bus services from Rs 7 to Rs 8. The minimum fare for fast passenger buses have been increased from Rs 10 to Rs 11. The Kerala government had last revised the bus fares in May 2014.
The bus operators have demanded that the minimum bus fare be raised to Rs 10. They have asked the government to increase the concession allowed to students by 50% and also fix an age limit for the students’ concession.
Representatives of various private bus operators met on Thursday and decided to go on a strike keeping in view the rising fuel prices and operational costs. “We are disappointed with the announcement on the fare hike,” a private bus operator told PTI. “It is insufficient to meet even our daily needs.”
The private bus operators’ federation alleged that several of their demands, including bringing petrol and diesel under the Goods and Services Tax ambit, and withdrawal of increased road tax, were not addressed by the state government.
Kerala Transport Minister AK Saseendran said the announcement was made on the basis of the recommendations of Justice C Ramachandran panel that had been formed to look into the problems faced by the transport industry. The minister asked the operators to withdraw their decision to go on a strike.