Bus strike enters second day; Commuters' woes compounded

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Bhopal, June 30 (UNI) The indefinite bus strike in Madhya Pradesh, in support of various demands including 50 percent hike of fare, entered its second day today.

Commuters' woes were compounded as taxi operators supported the agitation.

Madhya Pradesh Contract Bus Owners' Association President Shyam Sunder Sharma told UNI here that the strike would be withdrawn after their demands were fulfilled. He said no proposals from the state government to look into their demands had received so far and added that the state Transport Minister Himmat Kothari should have taken a prompt decision in this regard.

''The city bus service's 3,000 vehicles, 11,000 private buses, 1,700 buses on contract with the State Road Transport Corporation and 500 taxis are off the roads. The ball is in the government's court,'' Mr Sharma said.

He said apart from the hike of fare, the demand included formation of fare board, issuance of permanent premit to the contract buses, reducing of royalty by 50 paise per km for the contract buses and slashing of value added tax on diesel by 8 per cent.

Mr Sharma said bus fare had not been increased since 2004 while the price of fuel and the parts of vehicles had increased by two-fold. ''It has become a loss-making business to run the bus in this situation.'' Mr Sharma said.

UNI PKJ-BDG RL CS1845

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