More than 30,000 private buses will remain off the roads across the State from Monday, demanding a hike in fares. Nearly 7,000 buses will stop plying in Kolkata.

Following a Rs 5 a litre increase in diesel price, the Joint Council of Bus Syndicate (JCBS) on Friday called an indefinite bus strike beginning September 17.

According to Tapan Bandopadhyay, joint secretary of JCBS, buses will not operate until the State Transport Department assures a fare hike at the earliest to cope with the “steep hike” in diesel price. Bus operators have also threatened to hold a prolonged movement in this regard, if their demands are not met. JCBOA held a meeting with all the private bus operators on Friday afternoon.

The association has also sought the State Transport Minister’s intervention into the matter. Opposing the hike in diesel price, Sadhan Das, general secretary of JCBS, said it was “impossible” for them run buses as the operators were already incurring huge losses. “We have no other option but to go for an indefinite strike,” Das said.

According to him, the syndicate pointed out that several appeal to the Transport Minister, Madan Mitra, seeking a hike in bus fares went in vain. Meanwhile, Bimal Guha, general secretary of Bengal Taxi Association, said taxi operators would be forced to go on an indefinite strike, if taxi fares were not increased within two to three days.

ayan.pramanik@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 14, 2012)
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