WB govt talks tough, threatens action against agitating cabbies
Kolkata: People were hugely inconvenienced with over 30,000 taxis remaining off the roads for the second consecutive day on Tuesday over their demand for releasing 22 arrested taxi drivers, who were granted bail by a city court in the afternoon.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Biswarup Seth granted bail to 21 drivers on a bond of Rs 500 each and fixed the next date of hearing in the case of vandalism against them on August 26.
One driver had been granted bail yesterday.
Though the main demand of the striking cabbies was release of their co-drivers, there was no word yet on whether the strike would be called off.
They have also demanded that the government drop proceedings against 450 taxis and its plan to cancel their permits for the owners` participation in the agitation.
The drivers were demanding a halt in the government`s slapping of Rs 3,000 penalty for passenger refusal, a common practise among the city`s cabbies, and a hike in fares owing to increased diesel prices.
The West Bengal government, however, warned of strict action against any driver or operator if they impede free movement of taxis driven by willing cabbies.
"I will hold a meeting with the police on how to stop vandalism by a section of taxi drivers who are creating a sense of panic among willing cabbies to stop plying," state transport minister Madan Mitra told reporters here.
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