Madhya Pradesh bus strike enters second day

June 30th, 2008 - 6:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhopal, June 30 (IANS) Thousands in Madhya Pradesh had a harrowing time Monday as an indefinite strike by private bus operators entered the second day in support of a 50 percent hike in fare. To make matters worse, taxi operators too went on strike in support of the bus owners.

More than 15,000 buses in the state stopped plying Sunday. The owners are also demanding a three-tier taxation system, the formation of a fare board and permanent permits for contract buses.

“As many as 11,000 private buses, 1,700 buses on contract with the state road transport corporation and 500 taxis are off the roads. They will remain so till our demands are met,” thundered Madhya Pradesh Anubandhit (Contract) Bus Owners Association president Shyamsundar Sharma.

Stranded bus passengers crowded railway stations. Many with no local contacts had to book rooms in lodges and hotels.

Madhya Pradesh Transport Minister Himmat Kothari has refused to increase the bus fare by 50 percent.

“The government is prepared to consider their demands sympathetically, but 50 percent increase in fare will be grave injustice to the people and is not possible,” Kothari said.

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