Kolkata: The number of mini-buses plying across the city is declining fast, as the unions claim high maintenance cost and closure of beneficial routes are compelling owners to shelve their vehicles.”The number of mini-buses plying in and around Kolkata has reduced from 1,500 to 1,200 in the last 5 years,” said Avashesh Daw, general secretary of Mini-Bus Operators’ Coordination Committee. While the cost of a mini-bus is Rs 15 lakh, the EMI amount has climbed beyond the capacity of the owners. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaIt may be mentioned, however, that the mini-bus, which is a shortened version of its full-sized brethren, is quite cramped and don’t offer adequate space to passengers, who face a particularly harrowing time aboard them in summers. According to the revised mini-bus fare chart, a passenger traveling from zero to three km need to pay Rs 8. In the next stage, which covers distance from three to six km, a passenger needs to pay Rs 9. From six to 10 km, the fare is Rs 10, while between 10 km and 16 km, the fare is Rs 11. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThis apart, three profitable mini-bus routes have been closed. “Route number 115 (Bijoygarh-BBD Bagh), Route number 124 (Golf Green-BBD Bagh) and Route number 130 (Bijoygarh-Howrah) have been closed,” Daw pointed out. He reiterated that the maintenance cost of the vehicles has shot up threefold. Apart from that, the diesel cost and insurance amount have also increased a lot. To run a mini-bus, the maintenance cost per day currently stands at Rs 500. “We have talked with officials several times, but those meetings were not fruitful. We want that the government should set up a regulatory committee to rationalise the bus fare and diesel price. We want that the fare should be set up at par with the diesel price. If this situation continues then we will definitely die an unnatural death,” added Daw.