Kolkata auto-rickshaw operators set two buses on fire

January 3rd, 2009 - 4:32 pm ICT by ANI  

Kolkata, Jan 3 (ANI): Two buses were reportedly set ablaze today by protesting Trinamool Congress-backed auto-rickshaw operators who were agitating against a court ban on ageing public transport vehicles in the city.
The strike turned violent with irate auto drivers vandalising a government bus at Park Circus.
The agitators turned violent, and stoned and set fire to a West Bengal Transport Corporation bus. The bus was only partially damaged as locals managed to douse the flames. No one was injured.
“The way the government is putting a ban on our vehicles, we are protesting that. The order says that these autos should be off the road by January 1 and the date for taxis has been extended till March 3,” said Hare Ram Chowdhury, a leader of the Progressive Taxi Men’’s Union.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had earlier been leading a 5,000 member strong crowd to protest government action against auto drivers and owners.
After squatting overnight near Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’’s residence demanding release of her party supporters, Banerjee called off her dharna early this morning.
Commuters have been badly hit with the strike.
“This strike in fact, I have got to know right now only at this very moment because it was not known to us. We are supposed to report to a doctor by another fifteen minutes. I have been standing here fore more than half an hour. I am not getting any kind of conveyance to go to the hospital,” said Dipankar Nag, a commuter.
The drivers are protesting the order that was to be implemented latest by December 31, 2008.
Estimates put the affected number of vehicles to be affected by the implementation of the order at around 1, 00, 000. (ANI)

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