West Bengal hit by strike against fuel price hike

June 26th, 2010 - 1:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 26 (IANS) Normal life was badly hit in West Bengal as buses, taxis and autorickshaws went off the roads Saturday in response to a public transport strike called by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) against the fuel price hike.
Despite being a holiday for government employees, commuters were inconvenienced as a handful of taxis and autorickshaws that plied made a killing by charging exorbitant fares.

Ferry services on various rivers across the state also did not operate.

The strike was called by CITU, the labour arm of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist(CPI-M), hours after the central government Friday ended government curbs on petroleum pricing and hiked the prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas.

The price of diesel went up by Rs.2 a litre, kerosene by Rs.3 a litre and cooking gas by Rs.35 per cylinder. The prices of petrol will now be costlier by Rs 3.50 per litre.

Desperate commuters got onto trucks to reach their destinations while cycle rickshaws and the city’s runner-pulled rickshaws provided relief to many while charging them more money.

“What can I do? I have to appear for my job interview. I paid Rs.100 to the rickshaw puller for travelling from my home to Ballygunge. I don’t know why life is disrupted by calling strikes so often in Bengal,” said Kolkata resident Amit Biswas.

Though flights and train services were kept outside the purview of the protest, people had trouble getting transport to reach their destinations from the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose airport or railway stations.

Car owners were lucky as vehicles meant for private use were exempted from the strike. Metro Railway services, also in the exempted category, also functioned normally.

“There are no reports of any untoward incident. The situation is completely peaceful,” state Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh told IANS.

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