Transport Minister assures fare hike but only after operators submit a white paper on their income
The private bus operators on Wednesday decided to end their strike that began on Monday following assurance from Transport Minister Madan Mitra that the fares will be hiked. The minibus operators,who had planned to go on an indefinite strike from Thursday,have also decided to withdraw their strike.
Only the taxi operators remained firm on their decision to continue begin their 72-hour strike beginning Thursday.
We have told the bus operators to submit a white paper stating how much fare they want to increase and what is the current fare of the bus. They have been also asked to state their income by selling tickets within 10 days. The proposal will be submitted to the Group of Ministers in the next meeting following which it will be decided how much fare could be increased, said Mitra.
Individual private bus owners along with the mini bus operators have been asked to submit separate white papers,which will be scrutinized by the officials of the transport department.
Both the Joint Council of Bus Syndicate and Bengal Bus Syndicate and other private individual operators had gone a strike demanding fare hike in the wake of the recent increase in diesel prices.
According to Sadhan Das,secretary of the Joint Council of Bus Syndicate,the decision to withdraw the strike was taken after the minister assured them that bus fares will be hiked. Moreover,the government promised to compensate the loss which we incurred as we went on a strike from Monday, said Das.
However,taxi associations,which have refused to be call off their strike,said the minister has not made any strong commitment on hiking the fares. Bimal Guha,general secretary of Bengal Taxi Association,said that with the increase of Rs 5 per litre of diesel it has become difficult to ply taxi on 2009 fare chart.
We requested the minister that the minimum fare should be increased from Rs 22 to Rs 32,but he remained on not increasing the fare. Thats why we have decided to continue with our strike from tomorrow onwards, said Guha.