Strike called off midway but bus owners dig in their heels

The strike called by private bus operators in Howrah affected thousands of people,including schoolchildren,on Friday.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published:July 11, 2009 2:43 am

The strike called by private bus operators in Howrah affected thousands of people,including schoolchildren,on Friday. Though the strike was called off in the afternoon after a meeting between the district administration and the representatives of Bengal Bus Syndicate,the buses did not run.

Over 500 buses went off the roads to protest against the drive launched by the administration to check the condition of the vehicles after the last Saturday’s minibus tragedy that left 14 people dead. In the drive,nearly 100 buses were fined for running on resoled tyres.

“We cannot allow buses that are 15 years old to ply with resoled tyres. What is the guarantee that these buses won’t cause accidents,” said Sripriya Rangarajan,Additional District Magistrate,Howrah. She said that the administration will carry on with the drive.

“Earlier we were conducting the checking at only one point in the city but now throughout the district we will examine the buses. There was some confusion about the use of resoled tyres among the bus owners which was clarified today to them,” she said.

The bus owners,however,said that most of their demands have been accepted.

The operators want the buses,which the administration impounds till July 31 in its inspection drive,be allowed to run with resoled tyres. “So far the administration has agreed to our demands. I don’t know what will happen later,” said Babu Ghosh,Secretary,Bengal Bus Syndicate,Howrah.

State Transport Minister Subhas Chakraborty,meanwhile,said that a team of government experts is visiting Kerala and Karnataka to study the speed-governing technology being used in those states so that it could be replicated in Bengal.

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