A report published in the The Telegraph stated that the Guwahati Transport Association, Guwahati Metro Transport Association and Deluxe Bus Association have unilaterally increased the bus fares from Tuesday to cope up with the rise in fuel prices.
The report further stated that the Assam Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary had last week said the Government is mulling a 30 per cent hike in bus fares, but was yet to notify the same. On the other hand, a meeting between the Transport Commissioner and representatives of bus operators’ organisations, including luxury and city buses, had agreed on a 30 per cent hike and said the notification for the same will be issued within two weeks.
“Increasing the bus fare is unfair as the prices of petrol and diesel have been cut by Rs 5 recently. I paid Rs 7, which was earlier Rs 5, from Gauhati University to Jalukbari, and then Rs 21 from Jalukbari to Hengrabari, which was earlier Rs 15,” said a research scholar from Gauhati University, who is a regular city bus commuter.
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Recently, the Union Finance Minister had announced an excise duty cut that led to the reduction of fuel prices by Rs 2.50 and later appealed to the States to reduce the Value-added Tax (VAT) by Rs 2.50, amounting to a total cut of Rs 5 per litre on petrol and diesel in Assam.
“After slashing of the tax by the State Government, the price of petrol per litre was brought down from Rs 86.50 to Rs 81.38 on Thursday midnight. On Tuesday, the price of the petrol per litre was Rs 82.17 and diesel is Rs 74.99,” said an employee at Adabari petrol pump.
“The fare was Rs 15 from Jalukbari to Chandmari, which was earlier Rs 10. This sudden increase makes a huge difference. The Government and the associations must rethink and retain the earlier fare as the prices of petrol and diesel have been reduced,” said another commuter.
The transport associations’ new price table, with increased fares of city buses, includes a minimum fare of Rs 7 (previously Rs 5) and a maximum fare of Rs 23 (previously Rs 20). “What is the benefit of cutting the fuel prices if we are made to pay higher fare than the one earlier,” asked an ex-service man.
“The response from the commuters after the hike is good. Most of the people have accepted the fare,” said secretary general of All Assam Motor Transport Association (AAMTA) Pradip Das.
“Even though there is a cut in fuel prices, it will take some time for people to understand the value of increase in petrol and diesel prices in the last six years. The price of diesel has increased to Rs 74.99 from Rs 57.60 in 2012. The prices of petrol and diesel increased again on Tuesday by Rs 0.24 and 0.31, respectively, after they were cut on Thursday,” Das said.