The Left Front unit in Kolkata on Wednesday alleged that the recent hike in bus fares was a joint conspiracy by the West Bengal government and bus owners’ association to hoodwink the people.
In protest, the unit plans to organise a mega-rally on November 20, spanning the distance between Esplanade and Park Circus. According to the convener of the Kolkata Left Front committee Dilip Sen, although the recent hike in diesel prices amounted to a 13% increase, the bus fare hike had amounted to a 75% increase, courtesy the stagewise restructuring of fare.
This method has, he claimed, in many cases resulted in fare that was previously R4 increasing to R7, R6 fare hiked to R9 and R7 to R11. “At the same time, there has been an enormous increase in the fare of long distance buses. The earlier far of R75 from Esplanade to Durgapur is now R115, and fare from Esplanade to Digha went from R84 to R122,” Sen added.
According to him, the government should adopt a dual strategy to relieve the pressure on the common people. “First, the state government should review the changed bus fare structure and bring changes that are in parity with the diesel price hike. Secondly, the state government should provide some subsidy, like forgoing the state’s additional tax following the increase in diesel price. On several occasions, the previous Left Front government provided similar subsidies to relieve the pressure on the common people,” said Sen.