Bus operators defer indefinite strike for 10 days

Operators on Wednesday deferred the agitation by ten days after a meeting with two West Bengal ministers.

Last Updated: Sep 19, 2012, 21:25 PM IST

Kolkata: With private buses staying off the roads for the last three days seriously inconveniencing commuters, operators on Wednesday deferred the agitation by ten days after a meeting with two West Bengal ministers.

Though state-run buses plied, passengers found it difficult to board them because of over-crowding in the absence of 37,000 private buses that carry a huge chunk of passengers.

"The state government sought time to consider our demand for hike in fares," Joint Secretary of Joint Council of Bus Syndicate, Tapan Banerjee said here today.

He was speaking after a meeting between the Syndicate and Transport minister Madan Mitra and Industry minister Partha Chatterjee.

Mitra said that the operators have been asked to prepare a `white paper` and submit it to him.

"The Group of Ministers (GOM) on Transport will discuss the issue on the basis of the operator`s demand early next month," Mitra said and agreed that the price of fuel has been increased ten times, but there has been no bus fare hike.

General Secretary of the Syndicate, Sadhan Das said that they were convinced with the government`s approach and have decided to defer their agitation for ten days.

General Secretary of Minibus operators` Coordination Committee, Abasesh Daw, also described the government initiative as `positive one` and agreed not to go on strike from tomorrow.

Taxi operators, however, stuck to their three-day strike beginning tomorrow.

"The schedule of our strike will remain unchanged. We will join meeting with the transport minister tomorrow afternoon and decide the next course of action," Bengal Taxi Association President Bimal Guha said.

The transport minister also said that state government would have to incur about Rs 50 crore more in addition to the subsidy of Rs 600 crore to five state-owned transport corporations.