More misery for people
AS PREDICTED, in compliance with the demand raised by transport owners after the latest hike in fuel oil prices, the government made an upward revision in long-route bus fares on Sunday. According to a New Age report on Monday, after a brief meeting with all stakeholders concerned, the communications minister announced increase in long-route bus fares by seven per cent, Tk 1.45 a kilometre, which takes effect today. Earlier on December 31 in 2011, in the wake of an increase in diesel price, the government raised the fare from Tk 1.20 to Tk 1.35 a kilometre. Just in the past two years and a half, diesel price went up by Tk 24 a litre and long-route bus fares by Tk 0.25 a kilometre. Needless to say, the increase in transport fare will hit hard especially the fixed- and low-income people, who have already been reeling under unabated rise in the prices of essential commodities since the incumbents took office in 2009. It is also pertinent to mention here that the genuine income of these people has hardly seen any rise meanwhile. The decision may also have an adverse impact on the people tied to the poor and marginalised section, particularly those living in northern districts, who need to travel frequently to the capital Dhaka and other urban centres in search of employment.
The communications minister told reporters on Sunday that the transport operators’ proposal for increasing the fares of diesel-run buses and minibuses plying in Dhaka and Chittagong would be forwarded to the prime minister for her approval. It means that something is on the cards to add to the miseries of the city commuters at large. Those seeking to differ with such predictions on the plea that the decision, if any, will apply only to diesel-run vehicles, while most of the city buses run on CNG, are well advised to recall that the government failed in this regard on all previous occasions. It is also important to recall that city bus operators hardly complied with the government fare chart on earlier occasions. Against this backdrop, there is no dearth of people doubting that the government may also fail to make long-route bus owners go by the fare chart.
The incumbents thus need to heed the public demand for withdrawal of the increased oil price instead and protect people at large from increased transport fares.
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