Even as its alliance partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is putting pressure on the SAD to decrease the fares of bus travel across the state after an unprecedented fall in the price of diesel by more than Rs 3 per litre last week, the Punjab transport department seems to be in no mood to review the prices immediately.
“It’s a fact that decrease in diesel prices is a relief to all of us. But as of now, there is no proposal to review the bus fares. In fact, such proposals take time and the decision cannot be taken immediately after the prices were slashed by the central government,” Ajit Singh Kohar, state transport minister, told Hindustan Times, when contacted of the chances of relief in bus fares for the common man.
Notably, after the decrease in diesel prices on October 18, the state BJP has asked the government through various forums to slash the bus fares.
In an informal interaction with the press in Chandigarh a few days ago, state BJP chief Kamal Sharma, local bodies minister Anil Joshi and industries minister Madan Mohan Mitta asked the transport minister to announce a decrease in bus fares with urgent effect.
“The BJP or any other party has the right to raise its viewpoint. We are not saying that we will not review the fares. In the near future, we will try to look into the possibility of reducing the fares,” said the transport minister.
On the BJP’s demands that the state government should immediately withdraw the fares as the government, in a recent cabinet meeting, had decided that the bus fares would vary in Punjab automatically according to the increase or decrease in price of diesel, the transport minister admitted to such cabinet proceedings.
“We had taken this decision in which it was decided that the bus fare would automatically vary with the prices of diesel. Again, I would say the government will look into all such possibilities,” said Kohar.
However, industries Minister from BJP, Madan Mohan Mittal who has repeatedly raised the issue in the past one week said, “When the cabinet has authorised the ministers to take a decision about the increase or decrease in bus fares, this undue delay in slashing the fares is uncalled for. I don’t remember the exact date of the decision, but the cabinet has empowered ministers to take such decisions on their own.”