In the wake of the abrupt Rs. 5 hike in diesel prices, bus and minibus operators in West Bengal on Friday threatened to go on an indefinite strike if fares were not immediately raised.
"How will we run buses if we don't have the money? With an increase of Rs.5 per litre, it is next to impossible for us to run buses under this current fare structure. The fares have to be increased," said Aboshesh Da of a minibus union.
"The state government should leave its ignorance in the matter of increasing fares because if the fares are not increased we the bus owners will simply die. Today, we are having a meeting then we will announce our final decision."
The union government on Thursday announced a hike in diesel price by Rs.5 a litre and restricted availability of subsidised cooking gas cylinders per family to six per year.
The decisions came into effect on midnight Thursday.
"In my entire life I have never seen such a sharp rise in diesel prices. The state government has to increase the bus fares with immediate effect because if it is not increased most of the buses will stop plying. Already several buses have stopped plying," said Sadhan Das of Joint Council of Bus Syndicate.
Asked what bus operators would do if the state government refused to hike fares, Das said: "Then we have no other option other than going on an indefinite strike."