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Opposition in Tamil Nadu holds protest, warns of intensifying stir against bus fare hike


The DMK-led opposition on Monday held protests across Tamil Nadu to demand a full rollback of the recent bus fare hike, with police detaining DMK's M K Stalin and MDMK's Vaiko for blocking roads in the capital.

M K Stalin

Those that participated in the protests included the Congress, the Left parties, DMDK and VCK.

Stalin, DMK working president and leader of opposition in the assembly, was detained at Kolathur here along with scores of party workers and other opposition party members, including from the Congress, police said.

MDMK founder Vaiko and VCK founder Thol Thirumavalavan were detained with DMK workers at Saidapet when they staged protests demanding immediate rollback of the hike effected on January 19.

Warning of protests intensifying, Stalin said the government's move to marginally reduce the fares was an "eye wash".

"These protests will not end today... If the government does not withdraw the hike, our protests will intensify," he told reporters later.

The Tamil Nadu government had on Sunday revised bus fares marginally, following protests by opposition parties and the public, especially students, over the recent "steep" hike.

The reduction of fares was between two paise to 10 paise per km for various categories of buses and routes such as city, districts, express and ordinary services, a government release said.

In Chennai city, bus fares have been cut by Re 1 across various stages. The minimum fare would now be Rs 4 and the maximum Rs 18.

The revision will come into effect from Monday.

The state government had on January 19 hiked ticket prices of buses operated by transport corporations by about 20 to 54.54%, drawing criticism from all.

Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation workers, owing allegiance to 17 trade unions, including those affiliated to the DMK and Left parties, had launched a stir on January 4 after talks with the state government on wage revision failed.

While the unions demanded that salaries be hiked 2.57 times, the government offered only 2.44, resulting in a stalemate.

The workers had withdrawn their eight-day strike on January 11 after the Madras High Court appointed an arbitrator to settle their wage-related dispute with the government.


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