Unions call 'total' transport strike in West Bengal today

Unions have been calling flash strikes since August 7, demanding hike in fares

Kolkata: Commuters in the city are bracing for another round of hardship on Friday as the trade unions call a "total" transport strike across the state. This comes after over 30,000 taxis remained off the roads yesterday - the first day of the strike.

President of Joint Council of Bus Syndicate Sadhan Das said though the body supported the strike, it was yet to take a decision on it.

"The strike is a vital matter and we support it... But we have not taken any decision to participate in tomorrow's total strike," Mr Das said.

Transport Minister Madan Mitra could not be reached for his reaction in this connection.

"We don't want to comment on the views of any particular bus operators' body, but tomorrow's strike will be total, which will also include the state transport department-run buses, ferry service, contract carriages and luxury taxis," said Ramen Pandey, INTUC state president.

Claiming yesterday's taxi strike as 100 per cent successful, CITU state president Shyamal Chakraborty alleged the police arrested few taxi drivers.

He said the government should have taken initiatives to listen to the taxi unions' demands rather than using the police to arrest them.

"Yesterday's strike was an absolute success... Police have arrested few taxi drivers, but it will not help the situation.

The state government should have called them and looked for an amicable solution," Mr Chakraborty told PTI.

Asked whether any decision has been taken regarding the taxi strike keeping in mind the approaching Durga Puja, he said, "Indefinite means indefinite. It will continue until the government responds properly... We cannot help it because the sufferings of the people are because of the government."

Taxi unions have been calling flash strikes since August 7, demanding the state government to raise fares, drop legal proceedings against 450 taxi owners and put a stop to imposing penalty of Rs. 3,000 for passenger refusal.

( Source : PTI )
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