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Bangaloreans brace up for all round price hikes

Bangalore, June 26 (IANS) From bachelors to families and traders to buyers, people across Karnataka are busy reworking their monthly budgets after Friday’s fuel price hike announced by the central government.

Thousands of passengers who depend on the city bus service to commute in Bangalore shelled out more for their journeys from Saturday.

The local bus fare in India’s IT hub went up by 3.5 percent, while fares for long-distance buses went up by 8.5 percent from Saturday. The state government announced the hike following the central government’s decision to decontrol fuel prices.

Petrol prices went up by nearly Rs.4, from Rs.54.26 to Rs.58.09 per litre and diesel from Rs.40.15 to Rs.42.31 per litre.

Justifying the immediate hike in fares, Transport Minister R. Ashok said: ‘The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSTRTC) cannot absorb the diesel price hike as they are already running under losses.’

The BMTC manages the bus service in Bangalore, while KSRTC runs the service within the state and to neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Puducherry.

Hoteliers across the state were readying to increase the prices of food and beverages.

‘With prices of pulses and vegetables already high, the restaurant owners will find it increasingly difficult to hold the price line in their establishments,’ Vasudev Adiga, president of the Bangalore Hotel Owners Association, said.

Commercial establishments in popular shopping areas like Brigade Road were also worried about the impact of the diesel price hike on their budgets.

‘As the power situation is bad, we depend on diesel-operated generators for lighting. The hike in diesel prices means that we will have to shell out extra money to keep our businesses going,’ S. Subbaiah Shetty, who runs a popular saree house in Jayanagar, told IANS.

‘Now, I not only have to pay extra for using my two-wheeler, but also have to shell out extra for my food, as I am single and depend on restaurants,’ said Naresh Yadav, a call centre employee.

K. Uma, a homemaker with two sons in college, hoped the BMTC will not increase the monthly pass fare for students. The fuel price hike will also hit her family earnings, as her husband’s work requires him to travel a lot within the city.

‘I have already cut down spending on pulses and vegetables and may be forced to cut even further following the fuel price hike,’ she said.

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