Keeping up the pressure on the ruling AIADMK to withdraw the recent bus fare hike, opposition DMK today submitted to the Tamil Nadu government a "report" it had prepared with recommendations, including for finances, for the public transport sector. The DMK, other opposition parties and the civil society have been opposing the January 19 revision of rates of bus fares effected by the government. The DMK working president and leader of opposition, M K Stalin, met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami in Chennai and submitted the report prepared by a five-member DMK panel, headed by former Union minister T R Baalu. Later speaking to reporters, Stalin indicated that the government was non-committal on implementing recommendations made in his party's report. "We will convene another all-party meeting and discuss," he said when asked about the opposition parties' future course of action. The DMK had convened an "all-party meeting" last week to discuss the issue. Meanwhile, the report by the DMK panel, whose members include former ministers K Ponmudy and K N Nehru, DMK labour- wing leader M Shanmugam and Krishnagiri MLA T Senguttuvan, called for removal of "exorbitant" taxation of diesel by central and the state governments. "Remove the existing taxes on diesel like VAT and levy 10 per cent GST, which will result in an annual savings of Rs 1,600 crore" for state-run transport corporations, it said. Administrative reforms, revenue generation through advertisements and courier services by transport corporations were some of the other suggestions made by the panel. After a six-year hiatus, the Tamil Nadu government had on January 19 hiked ticket fares for buses operated by state-run transport corporations and private entities by about 20 to 54.54 per cent, drawing flak from the civil society and political parties. Opposition parties, besides students and the general public, had staged protests against the revision.
Earlier, the government had marginally cut down the fares.
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