Fuel price rise eating into earnings of taxi drivers

Gangtok, 28 May:

The hike in petrol and diesel prices has come down heavily on local taxi operators of the State as taxi fare rates remain unchanged. Meanwhile, fuel rates are increasing every day according to petrol pump operators in Gangtok.

The rate is increasing daily by 10 to 20 paise. On Sunday, the price of petrol was Rs.81.10 per liter and diesel was Rs. 70.75 per litre. On Monday, the price was Rs. 81.25 per litre for petrol and diesel was Rs. 70.90 per litre.

The rates are the highest so far and they are increasing by 10 to 20 paise every day, say petrol pump operators.

"We do not know much about why the fuel prices are increasing. We only know that new rates come to us in the evening and we charge that rate," they said.

Mainline taxi drivers and Gangtok taxi operators say there has been no corresponding rise in taxi fare even though the fuel prices are increasing daily.

"We are charging the same rate that was in place before the price hike," said Suraj Rai, vice-president, All Cooperative Society Limited at Deorali mainline taxi stand.

"Our monthly earnings have come down gradually over the past few months as we are spending more on fuel but cannot increase the rates of our seats," Mr Rai added.

The owners and drivers of taxis are suffering due to this, he said.

On behalf of all taxi drivers, Suraj, has appealed to the concerned department to look into the matter at the earliest because this fuel price hike has been severe. He wants the concerned department and Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, to fix a meeting as the earliest and resolve the issue.

Likewise, the Gangtok taxi drivers mentioned that they are also worried as the petrol and diesel prices continue to increase.

"If petrol and diesel prices increase, our monthly earnings decrease. If this continues then there should be an increase in our fares also so that we can sustain our families. Otherwise most of our earnings will go in buying petrol and diesel. We hope that the government is also keeping an eye on this and would act accordingly by increasing the fare," said the Gangtok taxi drivers.