Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 15: An indefinite strike has been called by private bus operators in Kerala starting from Friday, February 26 over fare hike, which they called is ‘insufficient’. The Kerala government on Wednesday hiked government and private bus fares to Rs 8 from Rs 7. The revised price will come into effect from March 1. (Update: Kerala Bus Strike Live News Updates)

Private buses across Kerala will keep off the road from tomorrow as part of an indefinite strike seeking a further increase in fares. “We are disappointed with the announcement on the fare hike… It is insufficient to meet even our daily needs,” a private bus operator told news agency PTI.

According to leaders of private bus operators’ federation, the decision to go on a strike was taken in view of the spiralling fuel prices and operational costs. The bus operators want the minimum fare to be Rs 10 along with a proportional rise in student’s concession ticket.

They also want to bring petrol and diesel under the GST and withdrawal of increased road tax and constitution a regulatory committee. Kerala Transport Minister A K Saseendran appealed to the private operators to withdraw their decision to go on a strike.

According to the charges announced by the government, the minimum fare for an ordinary bus service will be Rs 8, up from Rs 7, and for fast passenger services, the fare will be Rs 11 instead of Rs 10. Along with the minimum fare, charges per kilometre for all category of services have also been raised. The hike ranges between eight paise and Rs 6.

Private bus operators will also hold an indefinite hunger strike in front of the Secretariat in the state capital from February 19 to press for their demands.