Kolkata: With over 30,000 taxis in the metropolis staying off the roads on Thursday demanding a fare hike, Transport Minister Madan Mitra today warned that continuing the agitation would be "suicidal".
Apart from daily office-goers, city-bound passengers at airports and at busy railway stations including Howrah and Sealdah were affected by the strike called by Bengal Taxi Association.
State Transport minister Madan Mitra, however, claimed that the state government had deployed adequate number of additional buses to ferry passengers from the airport, major railway stations and important points.
The minister, who had visited many important points in the city, alleged that the striking taxi operators applied force against the willing drivers to make their agitation successful, but claimed that the strike did not have major impact.
Bengal Taxi Association General Secretary Bimal Guha denied the strong-arm tactic charge while demanding an immediate revision in fares.
"If the striking taxi operators continue with their agitation, it would be a suicidal decision," Mitra said adding, "Government is ready with alternative arrangement and the police have been asked to act sternly against any unlawful activities by the agitators."
The minister even asked the striking taxi operators to surrender permits, if they fail to operate.
"In that case the government will offer those permits to the unemployed youth".