The West Bengal Transport Department on Wednesday said it would set up an empowered committee to look into options for hike in bus fares.

Following a meeting with private bus operators’ unions, state transport Minister Madan Mitra said the committee comprising transport secretary and representatives from the operators’ union would file a report in a week’s time.

The Minister promised that the State Government would take a final decision on bus fare hike by September 30.

As a result, private bus operators withdrew their indefinite strike on Wednesday . Tapan Banerjee, joint secretary of Joint Council of Bus Syndicate, said buses would start plying from Wednesday as the Transport Minister assured the operators’ unions that he would look into their demands and consider a minimum fare hike.

However, commuters’ woes do not seem to end as the taxi operators’ unions have decided to go for a 72-hour strike from September 20, demanding fare hike.

The taxi operators’ unions – Bengal Taxi Association, West Bengal Drivers’ Welfare Association, AITUC-backed Calcutta Taxi Operator’s Union, CITU-backed West Bengal Drivers’ Workers Union and West Bengal Taxi Workers Union – also demanded the duties on diesel price collected by the Centre and state government to be reduced.

“We are ready for discussions with the state government over the next three days. If there is no solution, we may go for indefinite taxi strike thereafter,” Bimal Guha, general secretary of Bengal Taxi Association, said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 20, 2012)
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