The public transport system in the state is all set to collapse from Wednesday after the state cabinet refused to increase transport fares on Saturday.
Until Saturday evening, only one bus union, the Joint Council of Bus Syndicate, had declared an indefinite strike from October 9. Although the other transport associations have called a meeting on Tuesday, in all likelihood, they are expected to join the strike from Wednesday.
“We had a fear that the government wouldn’t raise fares and were prepared for it. The transport minister gave us time till October 8 but is yet to get back to us officially. So, we’ll wait until Monday before deciding on our next course of action,” Bimal Guha, general secretary of the Bengal Taxi Association, said.
Sources said that, on Saturday, when Madan Mitra forwarded the proposal at the cabinet meeting, the cabinet members showed a lack of interest to discuss the issue. Instead, they asked the transport minister to forward the proposal to the transport committee headed by state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee.
“The transport committee isn’t keen to increase transport fares because it’s against our pre-poll promises. I’d request the transport associations to give us time so that we can think of measures that will compensate their losses after the hike in diesel price,” Madan Mitra said.
However, the transport operators are not keen to give more time to the state government.