West Bengal’s ruling Left Front on Saturday ruled out any hike in public transport fares but said a meeting of state finance ministers July 21 in New Delhi will deliberate on ways to provide relief to operators due to recent increase of fuel prices.
Briefing media persons after a meeting of ruling combine partners here, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said: "There is no immediate need for hiking the transport fare".
"The petrol prices could go down in the international market. Also the empowered group of state finance ministers are scheduled to meet in New Delhi July 21 where the fuel price increase issue will be discussed."
State Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta is the chairman of the empowered group of state finance ministers now deliberating on enforcing a uniform goods and service tax in the country.
"In the meeting, the finance ministers will discuss ways and means of providing relief to the people. They will consider whether cess or some other taxes can be reduced. We will wait for the outcome of the meeting," Bose said.
However, bus and taxi operators, who have already demanded that the fares be increased in view of the higher expenses following the fuel price rise, expressed unhappiness over the the government's stand and threatened to withdraw vehicles from the streets.
Joint Council of Bus Syndicate (JCBS) President Sadhan Das threatened to stop running buses. Bengal Taxi Association president Bimal Guha said taxis would also pull out of the roads if the fares are not immediately raised.
Bose, however, refused to attach any importance to the Delhi government's decision to reduce the cess on diesel saying the buses, taxis and autos in Delhi are mostly run on CNGs.
"Moreover, Delhi government gets lot of subsidy from the central government which other states don’t receive," Bose added.