Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 04 June 2023 12.17 AM IST

Question of bus owners is very relevant


Representatives of private bus owners' organizations raised a highly relevant question during the press conference held in Thiruvananthapuram the other day. While a person has to pay a fee of Rs 5 to use a public toilet at a bus stand, a student has to pay just one rupee to travel by bus. Their question is how can the bus services continue if the fares for children are reduced so much when the cost of running the bus is skyrocketing? Although the Transport Minister dismissed the demand of the private bus owners, no sane person is ready to say that their demand is unfair. Apart from the student concession issue, the organization has raised some other demands as part of the indefinite strike that will begin on June 7. However, the free fare for students, which has not been solved for years, remains to be the main problem.

The issue of student concessions actively emerges every academic year. However, the matter has not been satisfactorily resolved over the years. Last year, the matter almost went up to the verge of a strike. At that point, the government intervened and appointed a commission to study the increase in fares for students. It directed the commission to submit the report within six months. Eight months have passed since then. However, the commission has not yet submitted its report. The other day, the transport minister said that he will ask the commission to speed up the process. Neither the minister nor the commission was ready to take any action until the private bus owners announced a strike. Who can be so irresponsible in such an issue that affects not only the bus owners but also the students? Not only the minister but also the commission is aware of the inadequacy of the current bus fare for students. Six months is a long period for preparing a report and submitting it to the government. However, what is the commission waiting for even after eight months? If it is unable to complete the assigned task then why is it not thinking of giving up its position?

Referring to the decision to strike, the transport minister said that the bus owners' efforts to achieve their demands through pressure will be futile. The discussion held by the bus owners' representatives with the minister failed. Further attempts for reconciliation are likely as June 7 is still days away. However, the possibility of a settlement will fade if no decision is taken on the issue of student fare.

The bus strike at the beginning of the academic year will be a setback for the education department as it prepares for the new academic year. It affects not only the students but also the general public. Due to various reasons, running a bus service is becoming a burden for many people these days. The government should make efforts to solve the issue by compromising as much as possible on the demands put forward by the bus owners without leading to a strike. The government is not run by those who do not know what a rupee can get nowadays.

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