Bengal taxi operators threaten indefinite strike

August 19th, 2010 - 12:40 am ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 18 (IANS) West Bengal’s taxi operators Wednesday threatened to go on an indefinite strike from Sep 1 unless the state government raises the taxi fares.
“We will go on an indefinite strike from Sep 1 if the state government does not increase the taxi fares. We have given the state government time till Aug 31 to decide on the matter,” said Suman Guha, assistant secretary of Bengal Taxi Association.

“The subsidy of Rs.2 on diesel is not at all enough in the wake of the increased expenditure on taxis. It is becoming impossible for us to run taxis. The state government has to either increase the fares or give us more subsidy,” Guha added.

Following persistent demands from the operators to raise bus and taxi fares, the state government had announced a subsidy of Re.2 per litre on diesel used for public transport.

Although the bus operators welcomed the decision, the taxi operators felt the relief was inadequate.

“We had a meeting with the transport minister Wednesday. We discussion how this Rs.2 subsidy on diesel will be implemented. We also asked him how we will be compensated for the remaining increased expenditure,” said Dipak Sarkar of Bengal Bus Syndicate.

“He said bus fares will not be increased. So we have asked for 3 days’ time in which we will talk to our members and decide,” Sarkar added.

The central government earlier this year decontrolled petroleum prices which saw prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas increasing by Rs.3, Rs.2 and Rs.25 respectively.

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