Bus operators send notice to minister Antony Raju declaring strike

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Transport Minister Antony Raju

Thiruvananthapuram: Private bus owners in Kerala have decided to strengthen their protest over refusal of the state government to declare a hike in bus charges. They have sent a notice to the transport minister declaring strike from March 24 onwards. Minister Antony Raju confirmed that the owners have given the notice.

Even though the government has in principle agreed to the demand of increasing the bus fares, they are yet to finalise the rates and issue an order. The bus owners have been waiting for a decision for months and had postponed the protests based on the assurances of the government.

Meanwhile, the minister said that even though their demand is genuine, the government cannot rush to a decision as this affects the common man. The government cannot overburden the public, he said. Bus operators are of the view that they cannot wait anymore.

The operators demand that the minimum rate be increased to Rs 12. They have also sought an increase in the concession given to students. Antony Raju's recent comment on increasing the bus fares for students had drawn flak from student organisations.

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