August 2, 2010 5:03:01 am
A week after approving a fare hike proposed by Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML),the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) will hold a meeting on Monday to discuss the same.
The transport utility had cited reasons like rise in fuel prices to hike the bus fare. After a go-ahead by its board of directors,the issue had come up before the RTA last week,which also gave its approval to the plan,hiking the basic fare by Rs 2.
However,following protests from 14 organisations in the city,the RTA decided to hold a meeting on Monday. Considering the opposition to the fare hike proposal,we have decided to hold a meeting with the activists on Monday afternoon. All their objections will be heard and if their points seem justified,there is a likelihood that the RTA could even think of slashing the fares to some extent. No decision has been made so far to this effect,as it would only be decided in the meeting, RTA member Baba Shinde said.
The fare hike that came into effect on Sunday was condemned by NGOs and civic activists. A special meeting organised by Sajag Nagarik Manch was attended by activists like Prashant Inamdar of Pedestrian first,Kishori Gadre of Janwani,Sujit Patwardhan of Parisar and Jugal Rathi of the Manch.
The fare hike is an injustice to over 13 lakh daily commuters. The authorities claim that the hike is owing to increased fuel prices,but considering that the prices have gone up by Rs 2.15 per litre for diesel,the PMPML must be incurring extra expenses of Rs 1.4 lakh a day for diesel buses and Rs 40,000 a day for CNG buses. The hike,on the contrary,is fetching them Rs 22 lakh a day, Rathi said.
Many have claimed that the hike has been done consciously in order to promote private buses and rickshaws,which are owned by the PMPML personnel, Rathi alleged. The administration has been addressing problems by applying ad hoc methods. They are neither solving the problem temporarily nor are they being able to find a permanent solution, Inamdar said.
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