Kolkata: Conceding the demand of taxi drivers, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced revocation of the steep Rs.3,000 fine on taxi drivers refusing passengers and laid down a five-stage fine structure.
"We are banning the Rs.3,000 fine that was imposed for refusal to passengers," said Banerjee after a meeting with commercial vehicle operators here.
At present, refusal by a taxi driver invites a fine of Rs.3,000 but henceforth it will attract Rs.100 for the first time, Rs.200 for the second time, Rs.300 for the third time, Rs.400 for the fourth time and Rs.1,000 thereafter.
Opposing the fine, taxi operators under different unions like the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) have been resorting to frequent strikes.
Banerjee also announced forming a steering committee with members from the labour and transport departments and police to sort out all transport related problems.
"Tell your co-workers that the government is solving your problems, so all should work accordingly, cooperate with police," Banerjee said, asserting she does not "believes in punishment".
She also announced giving Rs.25,000 for the marriage of the kin of drivers, which will be available after five years along with Rs.2 lakh for accidental insurance for commercial drivers.
While CITU leader Anadi Sahu welcomed the move, Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya slammed the decision saying it will compound the misery of the passengers who are already a harried lot by repeated refusals by the cab drivers.