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Malda bus strike lifted

Malda, Aug. 21: The private bus strike called by the drivers’ unions in Malda district was withdrawn today after exacting assurances that there would be relaxation in rules for renewing driving licenses.

The additional district magistrate (development), Padam Sunam, said those who had acquired licenses prior to 2008 need not submit Class VIII certificates for the renewal of the licenses. He also assured the unions that the drivers would be given more time to attend the driving test for the renewal.

The strike was withdrawn after Sunam had held two rounds of talks with the unions, yesterday evening and today.

The ADM said some of the rules had been relaxed in consultation with the transport department. “Those who have licenses prior to 2008 need not submit the Class VIII pass certificates for renewal of licences. However, the driving tests are mandatory. We have asked the motor training schools to acquire buses with dual control (two sets of clutch and brake controls) so that tests can be taken. We will collect the licence renewal fees for now and give receipts. The licences would be issued after the driving tests are taken,” said Sunam.

The secretary of the Citu’s transport union, Krishna Mondal, said the strike was withdrawn at 10am today after assurances by the administration. About 175 buses plying in the district had gone off the roads on Wednesday.

Mohammad Kaisuddin, the secretary of the RSP’s Utuc union, said those drivers whose licences had lapsed would be given more time for the test.