Kolkata, Sep 19 IANS | 10 months ago

Commuters faced a hard time Thursday as a section of bus operators launched a two-day strike in West Bengal to press for a hike in fares. After an official assurance, the operators ended the agitation in the evening.


The protestors also decided not to continue the strike on Friday, as planned earlier.

Earlier, over 50 lakh commuters faced lengthy queues as fewer buses plied in the city.

"There are less buses but still a good number are plying... however, it is not sufficient... we are standing for a long time in queues," said a commuter.

After following through the first day of the strike Thursday, the Joint Council of Bus Syndicates, one of the largest bus operators in the state, called off the strike and dropped its plan to continue the agitation for the second day on Friday.

The strike was called off after Transport Minister Madan Mitra promised the operators a resolution of their demands. Buses will be back on the roads Friday morning.

Sadhan Das of the Joint Council of Bus Syndicates, told IANS: "We have been requested to call off the strike by the minister. He has assured us that a decision will be taken regarding fare hike after Durga puja."

"We do not want public to be inconvenienced... buses will ply tomorrow morning onwards," Das said.

While the protestors stayed off the roads, buses of state-run organisations like West Bengal Surface Transport Corp and Calcutta State Transport Corp ferried passengers across the city.

Around 3,000 private buses of the Bengal Bus Syndicate were also plying.

Operators have been pressing for a hike since the last revision in November 2012, asserting that the last increase was not enough to cover operational costs.

Earlier in the day, Mitra warned a section of bus operators to mobilise their fleet as early as possible, failing which their permits would be seized.

"I will give them a bit of time... but if they do not start operating the buses by then, then I will have to ask the police to confiscate their permits," said Mitra.

In compliance, several buses were towed away by police.

(Posted on 19-09-2013)