Chandigarh: Public transport fares in Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana could become costlier by 10-15 percent following the hike in diesel rate, sources said on Friday.
    
Besides, goods transport is also set to pinch the pocket of industry as truck operators have decided to increase the freight rate by 8-9 percent due to the Rs 5 per litre hike in diesel rates by the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs on Thursday.

"The Rs 5 per litre increase in diesel will have substantial impact (on transport operations) and we have worked out that our operational cost will reach Rs 1.30 to 1.35 per km...," a senior official at the Punjab Transport Department said.

"... we will be requiring at least 10-15 percent increase in bus fares (to offset the current impact)," he added.

At present, average bus fare in Punjab is 0.66 paise per passenger per km.

The Department would submit the proposal for fare hike to the state government for its approval, he said, adding that, "We want that the hike should be made immediately".

The Punjab Transport department has total fleet size of about 3,300 which are plying on various routes across the state. Besides, private buses has also extensive network in the state.

Similarly, Chandigarh Transport Department has calculated a burden of Rs 1.35 to 1.40 per km, due to the hike in diesel rates.

"We have worked out an impact of Rs 1.60 lakh per day because of increase in diesel rate," a senior official of Chandigarh Transport department said, adding that the proposal for increase in fare would soon be put up before the concerned authorities.

With a fleet size of 419, buses in UT Chandigarh cover about 1.16-1.18 lakh km per day.

The Haryana Transport Department has also worked out that its operational cost would go up by between Rs 1 and 1.5 per km, though it has not yet decided to raise the fare.

"There is a hike of over 12 percent in diesel rate and accordingly we are seeing our operational cost to go up by Rs 1 to 1.50 per km," a senior official of Haryana Transport Department said.

However, he said there was no immediate plan to raise the fare rate. "Right now, we have not decided to increase the fate rate of buses," he said.

Haryana Transport Department has a fleet size of 3,700 buses running across the state.

Protesting the "substantial" increase in diesel rate, truck operators have raised the freight rates across the board by 8-9 percent.

"The freight rate has been jacked up by 8-9 percent from Friday itself as diesel rate has been increased by Rs 5 per litre," North India Motor Road Transport Association, President Charan Singh Lohara said.

Citing an example, Lohara said the freight rates between Ludhiana and Mumbai for 15 tonnes of truck, which is Rs 38,000 will increase by 8-9 percent.

Though he said the customers who had booked trucks prior to diesel rate hike would not be charged new freight rates.

To lodge the protest against the diesel price hike, truck operators across Punjab burnt the effigies of the UPA government and demanded an immediate rollback.

(Agencies)

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