Millennium Post (Kolkata)

State increases rate of hiring of vehicles, vessels for LS elections

- SRISHTI LAKHOTIA

The transport department increased the rate of hiring of vehicles, vessels and launches as well as the tiffin allowance for drivers in connection with the General Election to the Lok Sabha 2024. The transport operators had earlier written to the Chief Electoral Officer seeking for revision of the rates.

The Joint Forum of Transport Operators had stated that the operationa­l cost of buses and minibuses have increased by an average of 67 to 70 per cent. They also stated that as per the notificati­on of Assembly Election 2021, it was found that the hire charges, meal charges and “khoraki” of staff have no uniformity causing huge losses on their part.

On March 12, the Transport department informed the Chief Electoral Officer that the rates for hiring or requisitio­n of vehicles or vessels along with the rate of consumptio­n of fuel has been fixed. For buses, the rate of hiring of vehicles per day is Rs 2,530 which has increased from Rs 2,300. Similarly for Minibus, it has been increased from Rs 1,900 to Rs 2,090. In 2023, the hiring rate for small passenger vehicles with seating capacity upto seven persons was Rs 810. It was increased to Rs 890 for the 2024 elections. The hiring rate for auto rickshaw and e-auto rickshaw was also increased from

Rs 450 and Rs 700 to Rs 500 and Rs 770 respective­ly.

The rate for vessels having capacity of passenger up to 50, 51 to 75 and above was also increased from Rs 2567, Rs 2933 and Rs 3300 to Rs 2820, Rs 3,230 and Rs 3,630 respective­ly. The allocation for tiffin allowance for the staff was also increased from Rs 200 to Rs 250.

However, the operators have again sought for a revision as they are unhappy with

the percentage of increase in hiring rates. In their earlier submission­s, they had sought an increase by at least Rs 2,200 for the bus and Rs 1,600 for mini buses.

“Our neighbouri­ng state, Odisha, has a hiring charge of Rs 3,800 for buses. We hope that the state and department ensures that there is parity in the charges,” general secretary of All Bengal Bus Minibus Samannay Samity’s Rahul Chatterjee said.

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