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Private buses, cabs hike fare without govt approval

Kolkata: Private bus operators and taxi drivers are charging extra fare from passengers without any approval from the state government following the hike in diesel price.

At present, the private buses are charging Rs 3 extra in different routes (202, 230, 24 A/1, 24, 234 and others). While the minimum bus fare for 0-4 Kms is Rs 7, bus operators are charging Rs 10 for the same distance. For travelling between 4 and 8 Kms, passengers are being asked to pay Rs 12. Beyond 8Kms, the passengers are paying Rs 14.

"The Modi government is increasing the diesel price on a daily basis. But, the state government is not increasing the bus fare. That is why we have increased the fare ourselves," said Tito Saha, General Secretary of City Suburban Bus Service said.

The price of diesel has shot up to Rs 84.20 per litre. The Mamata Banerjee government has reduced Re 1 from its "own taxes" on both petrol and diesel from February 22 night. The Bengal government is the first in the country to reduce the state tax, throwing a challenge before the BJP-led Centre to slash its taxes on petrol and diesel.

Meanwhile, Nawal Kishor Shrivastav, Convenor of West Bengal Taxi Operators' Co-ordination Committee (WBTOCC) affiliated to AITUC, warned the errant taxi drivers charging extra fare from passengers.

"We have received complaints that taxi drivers are charging 40 per cent extra fare. We will take strict action," said Shrivastav. However, the taxi operators are demanding (from the state government) that the minimum fare (for 2 kms) should be increased from Rs 30 to Rs 50. Beyond 2 kms, the fare should be Rs 15 per kms, they demanded.

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