The Haryana government on Thursday decided to increase the bus fare by 15 paise per km and hike the VAT on diesel and petrol prices, drawing the flak of the Congress party for its move to "burden people" during a pandemic.
The fare for ordinary, luxury and super luxury buses has been hiked from 85 paisa per passenger per km to Rs 1 per passenger per km to partially meet the increased cost of operation of buses, an official statement said after a meeting of the state cabinet.
The cost of operation of buses has gone up from Rs 37.48 per km in June 2016 to Rs 52.23 per km in December 2019, it said. The Haryana Roadways has a fleet of around 4,294 buses and operate around 10.38 lakh km on a daily basis.
The public transport is off the roads due to a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. The bus hike is much below the 25 per cent increase carried out in 2010-11 and 20 per cent increase in 2012-13, the statement said.
In another decision, the cabinet accorded approval to partially restore the VAT on diesel and petrol prices and decided to put a complete ban on the purchase of new vehicles, including cars and jeeps, except buses for public transport and vehicles used for emergency responses during the current financial year. It said that the increase in rate of tax would be Rs 1 per litre on petrol and Rs 1.1 per litre on diesel.
The Haryana Cabinet also decided to impose one per cent market fee and Haryana Rural Development Fund cess on sale of fruits and vegetables in mandis. The Congress said other governments were putting money in people's hand during the crisis but the BJP-JJP government was doing the opposite.
"Today, Khattar Cabinet wrote a Black Chapter of anti-people measures! Govts are putting more money in people's hands everywhere but BJP-JJP Govt forces & fleeces daily," Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted.
Surjewala said tax of "Rs 1. 10 per litre on petrol/diesel, bus fare hike & Market fee on fruits and veggies is the new 'JaJia Tax'!". Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja also slammed the Khattar government's move to "burden people" in the time of a crisis.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had recently said that Haryana has been losing a whopping Rs 4,600 crore revenue. Khattar in a televised address had said "we will have to curtail our expenses and generate sources of income".