Chandigarh: In wake of the rise in diesel price, the private bus operators of Punjab on Friday asked the state government for a fare hike and threatened to go off the roads from October 1.

"We will not be plying buses from next month if our demand to hike the fare and reduce VAT on diesel was not accepted by Punjab government by September 30," Punjab Motor Union, working president Jagdish Sahni told reporters here.

Bus operators sought a hike of 0.15 paise per km, almost 23 per cent, in bus fare, besides demanding reductions in motor vehicle tax from Rs 2.25 per km to Rs 1.25 a km and VAT on diesel.

State-owned Punjab Roadways and PRTC have demanded a hike of 0.22 paise per km in bus fare, he said.

Sahni said that Rs 5 per litre increase in diesel rate would put an additional annual burden of Rs 1.80 lakh per bus.

There are around 3,800 private buses operating on different routes of the state, he said adding, Punjab Roadways and PRTC have 4,200 and 2,800 buses respectively.

Meanwhile, Punjab Transport Minister Ajit Singh Kohar said the bus fare will have to be hiked and the matter is under active consideration of the state government.

"Following the hike in diesel price, the bus fare will have to be increased but at the same time we want to ensure that minimum financial burden is passed on to the commuters, he said.

(Agencies)

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