The bus fare hike implemented by the Tamil Nadu government last month has come under heavy criticism from several quarters including the techie community that regularly uses public transport for commuting.
On Thursday evening, members of the Forum for IT Employees (FITE), the union representing IT/ITeS employees in Tamil Nadu, took out a pamphlet distribution campaign at the OMR-IT Corridor in Sholinganallur demanding that the government roll back the prices.
Early in January, transport workers in the state had gone on a strike demanding a wage revision. Soon after the bus strike ended, the government hiked bus fares across the state with effect from January 20. This resulted in a series of protests across the state, forcing the government to make a slight rollback.
FITE has accused the government of justifying the fare hike by focusing on the salary hike of transport workers and other costs, instead of solving actual problems, such as corruption, and making public transport accessible to all.
In a statement, the union said, â€śThe public transport service, the most important contributor to the social and economic life of the people of Tamil Nadu, now, what is reason for going into the situation of not even to pay workersâ€™ pension money and unable to recover its crores of worth properties belong to its transport corporations from mortgage? (sic)â€ť
It further stated, â€śRampant corruption, activities of politicians who side with private bus operators, insufficient fund allocation for public transport service in annual budget are only some of the many reasons that has led to the present crisis. By pointing the fingers towards the salary hike of the transport workers, the price rise for spare parts and other reasons, the government is not only trying to justify the price hike but also is covering up the actual problems.â€ť
Some of the demands made by FITE to the government are rolling back the bus fare hike, allocating necessary funds to provide safe travel to citizens, settling PF and other dues pending to the transport workers, and including trade union representatives in the administration of transport corporations.