Private Buses To Stay Off Roads In Odisha From Nov 16!

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Bhubaneswar: The All Odisha Bus Owners Association on Tuesday held its general council meeting in Bhubaneswar where several issues were discussed. The association has warned the state government to reduce the prices of diesel or else the private buses will halt operation from November 16.

According to reports, the bus association members expressed displeasure over the sluggish attitude of the government in fulfilling their genuine demands.

On July 17 a high-level meeting was held in which the state government was urged to provide Rs 1 lakh loan to each private bus owner so that they can resume the bus services. However, four months have passed and so far only 60 percent buses have started operations. The rest 40 percent of buses are yet to resume services are the owners are reeling under acute financial constraints due to the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The association said that of the 60 percent operation buses, some are starting to halt services due to low occupancy. If the state government fails to take concrete steps in providing financial assistance to bus operators, the passenger vehicle will soon seize operations.

The bus operators have alleged that compared to fuel prices in neighbouring states, the price of diesel is considerably high in Odisha. Passengers are bearing the brunt of the fuel price hike that results in the hike of bus fares in all categories.

The bus owners association also raised the issue of restrictions on the transfer of buses to third parties to ameliorate the loan burden.

“If the state government fails to take our demands into consideration by November 15, we will be forced to halt bus services for an indefinite period from the next day,” said the association’s secretary Debendra Sahu.

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