Unions call 'total' transport strike in West Bengal on Friday

With over 30,000 taxis remaining off the roads on the first day of an indefinite strike called by unions, commuters in the city are bracing for another round of hardship on Friday with the trade unions calling a "total" transport strike across the state.

PTI| Updated: Sep 18, 2014, 21:31 PM IST

Kolkata: With over 30,000 taxis remaining off the roads on the first day of an indefinite strike called by unions, commuters in the city are bracing for another round of hardship on Friday with the trade unions calling a "total" transport strike across the state.

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," 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 today's taxi strike as 100 percent 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.

"Today'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," Chakraborty told a news agency.

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.