(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 27, 2011
AIADMK Govt Attacks People
Steep increases in bus fares, power tariff, milk prices
S P Rajendran
IN the name of raising additional revenue of over Rs 10,000 crore, the chief minister of Tamilnadu, Ms Jayalalithaa announced on November 17 her government's nod for the hike in bus fares, power tariff and milk prices. She made the announcement after chairing an hour-long meeting of the cabinet at Fort St George.
In her address televised on her own private channel, a transcript of which was later released to the other media, she dwelt at length on the present financial health of the organisations concerned. These were the Tamilnadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO), a successor entity of the Tamilnadu Electricity Board (TNEB); State Transport Corporations and the Tamilnadu Cooperative Milk Producers' Federation (Aavin). “If these public sector undertakings, lying on deathbed, are not given oxygen now, they will become totally dysfunctional,” she said.
Sources say that the increase in the power tariff is, on an average, expected to be Rs 1.50 per unit for different sections of consumers. It will fetch Rs 8,000 crore in a year to the cash-starved power utility. The previous power tariff hike took place in August last year.
Referring to the state government's legal position on tariff determination, the chief minister said the government had no authority. The power utility would file a petition before the Tamilnadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC), which would hold public hearings before fixing the new tariff.
In respect of bus fares, the per km ticket price of ordinary mofussil buses would go up from 28 paise to 42 paise; for express and semi-deluxe buses from 32 to 56 paise; for super deluxe buses from 38 to 60 paise and for ultra deluxe buses from 52 to 70 paise.
The minimum bus ticket price in urban areas other than Chennai would go up from Rs 2 to Rs 3 and the maximum would be Rs 12 instead of Rs 7. In Chennai too, the minimum fare would go up to Rs 3 and the maximum would be Rs 14 against Rs 12.
As regards the dairy sector, the price of toned milk per litre would be hiked from Rs 17.75 to Rs 24. The last increase in the milk prices was made in September 2009. The procurement price of milk paid to dairy farmers would go up from Rs 18 to Rs 20 per litre for cow milk and from Rs 26 to Rs 28 for buffalo milk.
Even after the revision, the bus fares and the milk price would be lower than those in other southern states, Ms Jayalalithaa claimed.
Political parties in the state were unanimous in condemning the hike in the price of milk and bus fares, announced by the state government. They demanded an immediate rollback, saying that the price hike would be a severe blow to the common man.
Condemning the price hike, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president M Karunanidhi said the party would react after going through the reasons for the increasing the rates. If need be, the party would launch an agitation against the hike.
Terming the hike as “unprecedented,” Desiya Murpoku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) president Vijayakant said the steep increase in the price of milk would affect the middle class and the poor. At a time when the prices of essential commodities were steadily on the rise, this announcement on the hike has only added to the burden of the common man, he pointed out.
The DMDK chief also said that while taking pride in the budget saying that it was “tax-free,” the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s regime has announced a price hike soon after the local body elections. This only exposed the anti-people policy of the government. The steep hike in the bus tariff came as a shock to the people. Vijayakant also condemned the move to increase power tariff.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s state secretary, G Ramakrishnan, said the increase in the price of milk by Rs 6.25 per litre and the near 100 per cent hike in bus tariff would further add to the people’s sufferings.
Through a resolution, the state committee of the party, which met at Chennai on November 17 and 18, condemned the hikes and demanded rollback.
Instead of bringing relief to the people, the AIADMK government has added to their hardships by announcing these price hikes and recommending to the Tamilnadu Electricity Regulatory Commission to increase power tariffs, Ramakrishnan said.
the party also criticised some earlier decisions of the
resolution to this effect, passed at the meeting, insisted
that the state government
should reinstate all the 13,000 people's welfare workers, and
allow the Anna
Centenary Library and the
There was nothing wrong in undoing the mistakes of a previous regime and proceeding against irregularities and corruption. “At the same time scrapping or modifying decisions solely because they were introduced during the DMK regime is not good for healthy politics,” G Ramakrishnan said.
announcement of the price and fare hikes, tens of thousands of
CPI(M) cadre held
demonstrations across the state including Chennai,
The state committee of the party gave a call to massive picketing programme on November 28 throughout the state.
The state committees of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), Students Federation of India (SFI) and All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) jointly gave a call to vehemently oppose the price hikes. At Chennai, they organised a picketing near the Central Railway station to protest the hikes in the price of milk, power tariff and bus fare. Raising slogans against the hike, they proceeded towards the railway station. They were stopped by the police near the signal, but still a section of them squatted on the road and continued to raise slogans.
Many women participated in these actions, but only a few women police were present at the protest sites. The protesters and the police had had heated arguments over the policemen arresting women protesters. They were released in the evening.
These organisations mobilised thousands of their cadre across the state for organising protest actions.