Hyderabad: The Congress party on Tuesday strongly condemned the increase in the ticket fare of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC).
“The RTC authorities are using technical/fancy words to fleece the commuters. When the bus fares were increased about 10 days ago, people were told that the fares were being ’rounded off’. This time, RTC is adding the burden in the name of ‘cess’. This must be withdrawn with immediate effect,” Hyderabad City Congress Committee (Minorities Dept) Chairman Sameer Waliullah said in a media statement today.
Sameer Waliullah said that the change in terminology does not change the fact that the RTC has been burdening the common people by increasing the bus fares. “Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao did not fulfill any of the promises which he made in November 2019 to end the 55-day long strike by the employees. The budgetary allocations were not released appropriately and the corporation was forced to explore ways to generate funds. Consequently, the RTC is now forced to increase the fares if it wishes to survive. Given ever-rising fuel prices, the RTC will not be able to survive for long and it would be left with no option but to increase the fares regularly. This will increase the burden on common people, especially poor and middle-class, who use this mode of public transport,” he said.
The Congress leader demanded that the state government waive off the Value Added Tax (VAT) it collects for the fuel supplied to the TSRTC buses. “This will reduce the financial burden on RTC to a great extent and the same could be passed on to the commuters by not increasing the fares,” he added.
Sameer Waliulllah also condemned the hike in power tariffs for all categories of consumers. He said that the Congress party had run a long campaign demanding a waiver of power bills for the lockdown period. However, he said instead of waiving off the power bills or at least giving some concession, TRS Govt increased the burden by collecting additional amounts on power bills in the name of surcharge.
“Almost all sections of the society, who were badly hit due to the lockdown during Covid-19, were expecting some recovery after the end of all restrictions. However, the BJP government at the centre and the TRS government in Telangana started burdening them by continuously increasing the prices of fuel and cooking gas, and now the hike in RTC fares and power tariff. The prices of all essential commodities were at their peak. After Covid-19, people of Telangana are facing the pandemic of rising inflation,” he said.
The Congress leader demanded that the state government direct the RTC to withdraw the increased fares and proposed cess besides announcing a subsidy for the proposed hike in power tariff. He also demanded that the state government reduce the VAT on petrol and diesel to decrease the burden on common people.