THE PMP Pravasi Manch, a commuters’ group, started a signature campaign on Saturday to press for their demand for a rollback of hike in PMPML bus pass rates. Members of the group said the hike was “too steep, unnecessary and unfair”.
The two-week signature campaign was flagged off during an event held at Indradhanush Auditorium, near Mhatre Bridge, in the presence of over a hundred daily commuters. Since its implementation by the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) in August 2017, the hike has garnered much criticism .
Mayor Mukta Tilak and Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) Standing Committee Chairman Muralidhar Mohol, too, had written to PMPML Chairman and Managing Director Tukaram Mundhe, seeking a rollback. Mundhe, however, didn’t relent.
Office bearers of the PMP Pravasi Manch said they, too, had written to Mundhe several times but no action has been taken yet. Other commuters’ organisations, such as Nagrik Chetna Manch, Nationalist Congress Party, Janvadi Mahila Aghadi, Lokayat, Janeev Sanghatna, Shahid Bhagat Singh Manch Pimpri-Chinchwad, PCCF Pimpri Chinchwad, Aam Aadmi Party, Parisar and Sajag Nagrik Manch, Pune, also participated in the campaign.
Jugal Rathi of the PMP Pravasi Manch said, “The hike is not only too steep, it is also unfair and illegal. Nationally and internationally, senior citizen and students are given concessions in almost every sector, but the PMPML has suddenly decided to increase the monthly fares, so much that everyone is up in arms against it.” “Another unjust decision, which has affected the weaker classes — daily wage workers and maids — is scrapping of ‘specific route passes’. No explanation has yet been given in favour of this decision. Many people have to literally walk from home to work, as they can’t afford a ‘universal route pass’, which is Rs 1,400,” he added.
Rathi said this was not the only “anti-commuter” measure taken by Mundhe. “The management is hell bent on making profits. Commuter orientation is totally missing and every decision smacks of insensitivity towards the commuters. Earlier, several pass centres were closed. We have no option but to launch a campaign,” said Rathi.
“It is shocking how Mundhe continues to ignore our desperate pleas…” a commuter added.
Rathi said they plan to collect at least 15,000 signatures. Others present at the event include Major General Sudhir Jathar (Retd), PMC opposition leader Chetan Tupe, Maruti Bhapkar, Sujit Patwardhan, Sanjay Shanke, Col Baburao Choudhary (retd), Vivek Velankar, Sanjay Shitole, Satish Chitle and Yatish Devgadia.