Transport minister Madan Mitra at the meeting with bus operators on Saturday
Calcutta, Aug. 17: Bus and minibus operators today called off their scheduled two-day strike from August 19 after receiving an “assurance” from the state government that a fare hike would be considered.
Transport minister Madan Mitra, however, said after a meeting with the operators that there would not be any immediate fare hike.
The transporters said they would decide on the possibility of a fresh round of agitation in a fortnight.
Sadhan Das, general secretary of the Joint Council of Bus Syndicates, confirmed that the August 19-20 strike had been called off after a meeting at Writers’ Buildings between Mitra and leaders of the major bus and minibus operators’ unions.
The operators want a 60 per cent fare hike and the establishment of a regulatory commission that will recommend fare revisions at fixed intervals.
“The minister assured us that our demands would be considered. He requested us not to go ahead with the strike and said such a move could backfire,” an operator said.
“Mitra told us that the chief minister does not tolerate strikes and that if we persist, the government would not agree to a fare hike in a long time.”
The operator said Mitra “understood” the transporters’ problems and “he said he would do his best to help us”.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mitra said: “The time has not yet come to implement a fare hike.”
Senior transport department officials said the operators had actually put the government under pressure by calling the strike off.
“The government is now under pressure to deliver on its assurance. As things now stand, there really is no option other than hiking fares, ” an official said.