Cabs in Himachal Pradesh hike fares

June 8th, 2008 - 7:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, June 8 (IANS) On the heels of the hike in prices of diesel and petrol across the country, cab unions in Himachal Pradesh Sunday announced an increase in fare by 10 percent. The Baghsunag Taxi Operators Union, the Dharamsala Taxi Operators Union and the Ex-Servicemen Taxi Operators Union have decided on the hike. Together they have a strength of 1,500 cabs.

A spokesman for the Dharamsala Taxi Operators Union, Naib Singh, who spoke to IANS, justified the fare hike and said they are just shifting their financial burden on to the passengers.

After the hike in fuel prices announced by the central government last week, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has clarified that the state government is already charging 6 percent less sales tax on petrol and diesel in comparison to other states and hence there is no plan to reduce the prices.

The decision of the taxi unions will definitely hit the tourist season.

Last year, more than 8.8 million tourists, including 339,000 foreigners, visited the state. This year, the government is targeting to surpass that figure.

Kullu-Manali have emerged as a favourite tourist destination among the tourists. Last year, around 100,000 foreign tourists visited that area.

The hike in fuel prices would also force the truckers to follow the suit. The fruit and vegetable growers would be badly affected as 98 percent of their produce is transported through trucks.

“The apple crop is ready and the hike in fares would definitely hit the economy of farmers,” says Ashok Khemta, a fruit grower of Kotkhai village in Shimla district.

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