Activists hail move, unions upset
For the past few years, consumer activists have been fighting against the Hakim committee’s recommendations, claiming that the parameters considered for the fare hike were faulty.
Giving teeth to the activists’ claims, and much to the anger of auto and taxi unions, the government on Thursday announced its decision to replace the panel.
Sources in the transport department said the new three-member committee will reconsider all parameters that the Hakim panel took into account.
Apart from fuel, other factors such as insurance and living cost were responsible for the steep hike.
Activists and transport department officials claim that even if the same parameters are considered by the new committee, the rise in tariff will not be very steep.
“The Hakim panel has a done lot of work to derive the formula. But there is always scope for improvement,” said a source.
Source claim the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat recently wrote to the transport minister, following which the government started to think about scrapping the panel.
The group had challenged the report in the high court and had pointed out various deficiencies in the formula. Varsha Raut, advocate for Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, said, “We have legally, socially, technically and statistically proved that the report was faulty and the transport minister upheld our stand.”
Transport expert AV Shenoy said there was no public audit on the formula. “The state government should consider having some quasi-judicial body or authority such as MERC or TRAI to keep check on the tariff of all public transport bodies,” he said.
Taxi and autorickshaw unions slammed the decision, terming it unilateral and unjustified. “It’s unfortunate that the government scrapped the committee after accepting its report. The committee had a tenure of 10 years,” said AL Quadros, taxi union leader.
Shashank Rao, leader of Mumbai Autorickshawmen’s Union, said, “We were not taken into confidence. We are against the decision.”
Three people have died after a landslide in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada district, a senior police official told news agency ANI Thursday morning. A fourth is being treated in hospital, Rishikesh Sonawane, a police superintendent, said. Three people were rescued from amid the debris, Dr KV Rajendra, the deputy commissioner had said late last night. The Udupi district has called a holiday for anganwadi schools and colleges. Heavy showers are expected there till July 9.
A level-2 fire broke out in a supermarket in the Powai area of Mumbai Thursday morning, according to civic officials. The blaze was reported in the Haiko Supermarket on the main street of Hiranandani locality in Powai at around 6.05am. At least eight fire engines and five jumbo tankers were rushed to the site to douse the fire. There was no report of any casualty, the officials said.
Owing to continuous rain, educational institutions in several parts of Karnataka will remain shut on Thursday. Top officials in the 4 districts of Karnataka - namely Udupi, Kodagu, Hassan and Uttara Kannada -- have declared holiday for Anganwadi schools and colleges amid the 'red alert' issued by the weather department. The Indian Meteorological Department has predicted extremely heavy rain, ranging above 204.5 mm for these 4 cities.
Karnataka Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu B Chavan appealed to people not to sacrifice cattle for the Bakrid festival while warning of stern action against the offenders. The Minister emphasised the Cow Slaughter Prohibition Act has already been in force in Karnataka. Generally, during the Bakrid festival, there is a tradition of sacrifice, for which livestock such as cow, ox, calf and camels are also used, said Chavan.
Chandigarh Chandigarh administrator Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday gave in-principle approval for a synthetic running track at Sukhna Lake. UT adviser Dharam Pal, said, “The Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee had earlier given its go-ahead for the proposal. Next, the detailed plan and cost estimates will be prepared; and then, tenders will be floated for the project.” A UT official said the proposed track is part of the administration's efforts to give Sukhna Lake a major facelift.