Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 17:
Even as the oil prices continue to fall, the Odisha government seems to be in no hurry to revise the bus fare.
It may be mentioned that the diesel price had gone up to Rs 7.25 in the last 11 months. The All Odisha Private Bus Owner’s Association had demanded a fare hike in August this year to which the state government hiked the fare by 5 to 8 paisa per KM.
The price of diesel was Rs 55.3 in October last year when the bus fare was increased from 55 paisa to 59 paisa per KM. Later on August 19 this year the price was hiked again from 59 to 64 paisa per KM as the diesel price per litre shot up to Rs 62.28.
However, diesel prices have come down to Rs 9.17 in four phases (Rs 7.95 as per government records excluding the taxes), in the last two months and the price now stands at Rs 54.33 per litre.
While the price is now comparatively much lesser than what it was two years ago (October 2013), the bus fare has been reduced to only 2 paisa per KM after several rounds of negotiation.
Despite this, the bus fare remains much higher (62 paisa per KM now) than what it used to be in the last two years (55 paisa per KM).
Though the state government had brought down the fare by a meagre 1 paisa in two phases, no steps have been taken to revise the fare after the diesel price come down in two phases.
Sources in the Transport department said the department will have a meeting of the technical advisory committee to decide the fare revision within a day or two.
Though it is certain that the fare would be reduced, the meeting will decide as to how much the fare would be reduced and from when, the sources added.
The Association has no objection to the fare revision.
“We are all for price reduction. AT the same time, we want price reduction of tyres, tubes and lubricants. Besides, the fare would be even much less if the insurance premium and bank interest rate are less’, said Debendra Sahoo, general secretary of the Association.
“The government should also take care to reduce the fare of DTS city buses and auto fares along with private and government buses. We have also requested the government to put in place an automated price regulatory system to monitor the fuel prices accordingly,” he added.