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Kolkata, Sep 19: Adding to the woes of commuters for the second consecutive day, taxis stayed off roads as part of their indefinite strike in Kolkata but some buses and mini-buses plied during the all-transport strike Friday. Due to the absence of a fraction of buses, streets were devoid of the familiar hooting and honking of vehicles stuck in traffic. The strike called Thursday was the eighth since August. Also Read - Fashion Designer Sharbari Datta Found Dead in The Washroom of Her Kolkata Residence
Transport workers affiliated to eight central trade unions, including the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Indian National Trade Union Congress and All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), have called to continue the strike Friday to express solidarity with the cabbies. Also Read - Kolkata Lawyer Jailed For Life For Strangulating Husband to Death With Mobile Charger
Among other things, they are pressing for a fare hike and protesting “police excesses”. However, since bus fares were hiked by Rs.1 last month, most of the bus drivers were not keen to join the strike. Commuters were seen hailing the autorickshaws. Queues were seen in front of autorickshaw stands across the city. Around 80 percent of the autorickshaws were seen operating.
Those travelling in the metro were happy as trains ran according to the routine schedule. With shopping for the forthcoming Durga puja is in full swing, the trains were packed to the fullest. However, those travelling from one end of Kolkata to the other end via a mix of public transport were stranded due to the absence of vehicles.
Thursday’s strike called by CITU and AITUC resulted in hundreds of cabbies pulling their vehicles off the roads. Cab unions also put forth their demand to drop legal proceedings against 450 taxis. According to CITU leader and former minister Anadi Sahu, no taxis will ply unless the state government accepts their demands.
The unions were not happy due to the state government’s decision to increase fine for passenger refusal from Rs.100 to Rs.3,000 to combat repeated complaints of refusals. Around 37,000 taxis ply in Kolkata daily.