Private bus stir affects life in Kerala

January 5th, 2010 - 5:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 5 (IANS) Life was affected in Kerala as a statewide indefinite private bus strike began Tuesday. Over 30,000 private buses in Kerala went off the roads.
The private bus owners have been demanding an increase in the minimum fare from Rs.3.50 to Rs.5 and a reduction in the fare for students.

The owners decided to go ahead with the strike after two rounds of talks with state Transport Minister Jose Thettayil failed Monday evening.

The worst affected districts were Ernakulam, Kottayam and virtually all of the northern districts of the state, where private operators run the maximum services.

Meanwhile, small and medium sized vehicles are taking advantage of the strike by hiking their rates.

Justice P.N. Ravindran of the Kerala High Court criticised the private bus owners for implementing the strike. He said no petition of the owners would be considered unless they withdrew the strike because he witnessed the trouble the ordinary people were going through.

“We are left to fend on our own and this strike is a challenge for ordinary people like us who are solely dependant on private buses. We wish the authorities would do something to find a solution because we have no other way without these private buses to move from one place to another,” said V. Babu a resident near Kottayam, whose only option for travel is a private bus.

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