Burdwan, March 24: Private bus operators observed a day’s strike in Burdwan today, demanding a stop to harassment by the public, a hike in fares following rise in diesel prices and an improvement in the law and order situation.
The strike had a crippling effect on the area as all bus and mini-bus operators’ associations joined hands to bar buses from neighbouring districts from entering Burdwan.
As a result, buses carrying passengers from Bankura, Purulia, Murshidabad, Nadia and Hooghly were not able to ply on the routes cutting through the districts.
“Our drivers and conductors are harassed even in accidents involving errors committed by pedestrians, they are beaten up, we have also had no results concerning our complaint that the state transport authority was bypassing the regional transport body in issuing permits to new routes,” said Saratchandra Konar, of the district bus owners association.
“The state government has hiked the prices of diesel and accessories like tyres and motor parts and also increased road tax and other fees. We have raised the issue before the regional transport authorities many times without any response from them, so we have decided on the indefinite strike,” said Janaki Ranjan Sinha, secretary of the district bus association.
With the district magistrate, who is also the chairman of the regional transport authority, at present out of station, no one in the administration could comment on what steps were being taken to resolve the impasse.
On March 17, the bus operators had sent a memorandum to the district magistrate as well as the zilla parishad informing about their decision to call an indefinite strike from today. “We were told that discussions will be organised, but nothing positive was done by the administration,” Sinha said.
Today the bus owners met additional district magistrate T.K. Som who assured them that their grievances would be met.
but they should withdraw the strike as school examinations were going on and the higher secondary exams were round the corner.