In a double blow to the residents of Tamil Nadu already reeling under double-digit inflation, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Thursday announced a steep hike in bus fares and milk prices and also hinted at an upward revision in power tariff.
In a televised announcement, Jayalalithaa blamed the central government for her government's latest decision taken at a cabinet meeting.
"The state transport undertakings are on the verge of going dysfunctional due to increase in the prices of fuel and spare parts. To make them functional, there is no way except to increase the fares," she said.
As per the revised bus fares, a passenger might have to spend at least a rupee more for every bus ride in cities and towns for the minimum distance.
The minimum bus fares have been increased by a rupee to Rs3 and the maximum by Rs5 to Rs12 across the state other than Chennai. In the state capital, the maximum bus fare has gone up by Rs2 to Rs14.
The price of milk has gone up by Rs6.25 per litre to Rs24. The milk procurement prices have also been increased by Rs2 per litre.
Jayalalithaa said the increase in power tariff will be decided by the state electricity board and will have to be ratified by the tariff regulatory agency.
According to her, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) has a debt burden of Rs43,000 crore which is likely to go up to Rs53,000 by the end of this fiscal.
She said the government had no other alternative but to increase the prices as the previous DMK government had brought the state to bankruptcy.
The chief minister said she hoped the centre would provide financial assistance and increase allocation of power to the tune of 1000 MW, but nothing had happened so far.
She said the centre was giving Tamil Nadu a step-motherly treatment while it was offering Rs21,614 crore package to West Bengal, ruled by an alliance partner.