Kolkata: The two-day bus strike across West Bengal, which failed to evoke much response on Thursday, was withdrawn by the sponsors this afternoon following "assurance" of a possible fare hike from the state transport minister.
"We have decided to lift the 48-hour bus strike from 4 PM and resume normal services on being assured of a possible fare hike by the transport minister after the Puja festival," according to joint secretary of Joint Council of Bus Syndicates Tapan Banerjee and Minibus operators` Coordination Committee secretary Abasesh Daw.
Both Banerjee and Daw claimed that Transport Minister Madan Mitra, with whom they had held a first round meeting at the state secretariat, assured that after the puja festival, "the government may allow a hike in transport fare".
The sponsors would have another round of meeting with the minister during the day. Mitra was, however, not available for comment.
Transport services in the metropolis and surrounding areas were largely unaffected on the first day of the strike called to demand hike in bus fares in view of the rise in diesel prices and prices of accessories and inputs.
The Transport Minister had earlier refused to accept their demand and warned of strong action in case there was any law and order problem.
Bengal Bus Syndicate, the major bus operators` body, did not join the strike. Taxis and auto-rickshaws were also operating in full strength since morning.
The minister had earlier accused the striking bus operators of working in close concert with the CPI(M), and added that all measures had been taken to avoid any untoward incident.