Calcutta, Sept 7: The biggest union of private bus operators in Bengal today threatened a two-day strike from September 19 to demand a fare hike.
The Joint Council of Bus Syndicates has so far not taken a decision on the government’s appeal to reconsider the strike threat.
Around 32,000 buses across Bengal, including over 6,000 in Calcutta, are affiliated to the union. There are around 38,000 private buses in the state.
“Bus fares were last hiked in November last year. Since then, the price of diesel has gone up by nearly Rs 6 a litre. The prices of other items such as lubricants, too, have shot up. If fares are not hiked, we will organise a strike on September 19 and 20,” said Tapan Bandopadhayay, the joint secretary of the council.
Transport minister Madan Mitra requested the bus operators not to call the strike, adding that an immediate fare hike was out of question.
“I will request the bus operators not to go forward with the strike now. They have been patient for so long. I will request them to put the decision on hold till Kali Puja,” Mitra said.
He said he would meet bus operators early next week. “I can make one thing clear. Under no circumstances will the government increase fares now. The time has not come for that,” he said.