For over a month now, New Socialist Alternative, Pune has been campaigning and protesting against the recent public transport price hike. The 50% hike will hit many ordinary people hard and many in Pune are angry about this.
In our campaigns we have been highlighting on the very notion of a public transport system and it is not about generating profits, but the duty of the local municipality to provide affordable and quality public transport system. We have campaigned on different bus stops throughout the city, interacted with over 1000 people and got petitions signed.
We raised important issues such as how the corporation has strategically under-funded public transport, reduced the revenue of the corporation by cutting down on octroi/Local Body Tax (LBT) to favour the petty-bourgeoisie trading businesses and then crying hoarse saying lack of money so the need to privatize these essential services would be the only alternative.
After getting favourable responses amongst the general public, we approached the various organizations for a meeting and it was decided to organize a protest in front of Pune Municipal corporation. Apart from us, the other organizations involved included Parisar, Shramik Mahila Morcha, Bharatiya Mahila Federation, Lokjagar, Lok Chetana Manch and individual activists Sulabha Brahme, Anagha Lele.
The protest was held on 21st February and over 40 people attended. We also protested against the daylight murder of the communist party veteran activist – Govind Pansare and condemned the communal forces.
The joint demands put forward, included
- Both Pune Municial Corporation and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation must contribute 400 Crores each annually for PMPML as the both remain the only shareholders/owners of it.
- Min. fare should be Rs.3 and that of Maximum should not be more than Rs. 20. Ticketing should be done based on ‘Kilometer Basis’ and not on ‘stage basis’.
- PMPML should purchase 1500 buses more (as it lacks the same number and it hires those no. of buses as per statistics.). Proper planning of bus routes should be done and the timetable should be displayed on every bus-stop.
- (Private/personal) Four wheelers should be charged Congestion Tax and parking charges across the city.
- Huge spending of capital on bridges and underground should be stopped immediately.
- Contract system in PMPML should be stopped.
- Contract laborers should be made permanent employees and until then they should be paid on ‘Equal work, Equal pay’ basis.
B. Youvraj and Rushikesh Divekar of New Socialist Alternative, Pune gave representation to the mayor of the city and Chairman of PMPML. The campaign is still ongoing and different protests are being planned in the coming period.