The Congress in Punjab accused the ruling Badals of pocketing the exorbitant profits for their transport business by refusing to lower public transport fares following slashing of diesel prices.
Punjab Congress spokesman Sukhpal Khaira said in a statement here, “Diesel prices have crashed by a whopping `5.50 per litre, a steep 11% fall, during the last fortnight. But, the Badal government has turned a blind eye to commuters’ genuine demand of reducing bus fares in the state.”
Khaira said the reason behind the government’s refusal to lower bus fares was that the Badal family wanted to keep the huge profits from reduction in diesel prices with themselves and their transport companies.
“For the Badal-run buses, these profits would run into lakhs everyday each bus is likely to save diesel worth Rs 1,000 on an average. They own a large fleet of luxury and super luxury buses under the banner of different companies like Orbit Transport, Taj Travels, Dabwali Transport, Hargobind Transport and Indo-Canadian Transport,” remarked Khera.
“It is an irony that while the motor vehicle tax (MVT) for government-owned buses is `3 per vehicle per day, the MVT for Badals’ luxury buses (integral coaches) is only `1.75. Similarly, the fares of luxury buses has been fixed at 166 paise per passenger per km which is twice as much as ordinary bus fare which is 83 paisa per km,” he said.
He said the Congress also urged the SAD-BJP government to withdraw the recent hike of 0.5% VAT on diesel, due to which the fuel had become costlier by 30 paise in Punjab.
Punjab farmers could not afford expensive diesel, when their crops were not being paid remunerative prices, he held.