Consumer and service organisations of the city have urged the government to reconsider the hike in the milk price and bus fare, announced by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday. They have also opposed the move to increase the power tariff.
Describing the hike in bus fare and milk price as steep, S.Pushpavanam, secretary of the Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu, said they would be a big drain on the common man’s budget and appealed to be government to reconsider the decision.
Although the fares have not been raised for the past eight years, a bus journey between Tiruchi and Thanjavur could now turn out to be costlier than train fare. The hike in the minimum fare may be reasonable, but for regular commuters it would be a substantial increase in transport expenditure for a month.
The hike in milk price was also sharp. Aavin, if made corruption-free and efficient, could be made a profit-making agency as it has a vast untapped market potential, Mr.Pushpavanam said and demanded a roll back of the hikes.
On the move to increase power tariff, Mr.Pushpavanam said the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation must stop supplying unmetered electricity, minimise transmission and distribution losses and rid the organisation of corruption before seeking a hike in tariff.
Expressing concern over the continuing rise in prices of essential commodities and tariff for essential services, the Federation of Service and Consumer Organisations said that the increase in prices announced by the Chief Minister would impose a heavy burden on people and appealed to her reconsider the decision.
Milk is an essential commodity and the hike would put additional burden on people who were reeling under rise in the prices of essential commodities and house rents, said M.Sekaran, president of the federation.
While private operators were making profit, State Corporations were said to be incurring losses. The Corporation buses were running without proper maintenance and one of the arguments put forward by them was they were operating buses on loss making routes too. Private operators should also be forced to operate on not-so-profitable routes.
Power tariff was increased only in 2010 after public hearings by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission and the present hike has come too quickly. The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation should be directed to reduce transmission and distribution losses through modern technology, he said.