Tamil Nadu hikes bus fares, milk prices

November 17th, 2011 - 10:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Nov 17 (IANS) In a double blow to the residents of Tamil Nadu already reeling under double-digit inflation, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Thursday announced a steep hike in bus fares and milk prices and also hinted at an upward revision in power tariff.

The decisions were strongly protested by opposition parties.

In a televised announcement, Jayalalithaa blamed the central government for her government’s latest decision taken at a cabinet meeting.

“The state transport undertakings are on the verge of going dysfunctional due to increase in the prices of fuel and spare parts. To make them functional, there is no way except to increase the fares,” she said.

As per the revised bus fares, a passenger might have to spend at least a rupee more for every bus ride in cities and towns for the minimum distance.

The minimum bus fares have been increased by a rupee to Rs.3 and the maximum by Rs.5 to Rs.12 across the state other than Chennai. In the state capital, the maximum bus fare has gone up by Rs.2 to Rs.14.

The price of milk has gone up by Rs.6.25 per litre to Rs.24. The milk procurement prices have also been increased by Rs.2 per litre.

Jayalalithaa said the increase in power tariff will be decided by the state electricity board and will have to be ratified by the tariff regulatory agency.

According to her, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) has a debt burden of Rs.43,000 crore which is likely to go up to Rs.53,000 by the end of this fiscal.

She said the government had no other alternative but to increase the prices as the previous DMK government had brought the state to bankruptcy.

The chief minister said she hoped the centre would provide financial assistance and increase allocation of power to the tune of 1000 MW, but nothing had happened so far.

She said the centre was giving Tamil Nadu a step-motherly treatment while it was offering Rs.21,614 crore package to West Bengal, ruled by an alliance partner.

Meanwhile, opposition parties in the state came out strongly against the price hikes.

Slamming the AIADMK government’s decision, DMK chief and former chief minister M. Karunanidhi said the party will decide on its next course of action against the price hikes.

PMK founder S. Ramadoss, demanding a rollback of the government decision, said the losses by state government undertakings are due to mismanagement and corruption.

He said the power tariff was hiked only last June.

Ramadoss charged Jayalalithaa of trying to fool the people with the hikes after the local body elections.

Communist Party of India (CPI) state secretary D. Pandian, in a statement, said the price hike would affect lower and middle class people and has to be withdrawn.

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