The government of West Bengal decided on Saturday to abort the crackdown on three-wheelers with two-stroke engines to protect the environment, as violent protests continued for the second consecutive day in the city.
Even though the decision to stall the process of converting the three-wheelers into CNG-run vehicles was not officially announced, a senior bureaucrat, who did not wish to be named, said there would be no crackdown on Sunday.
On the crackdown on polluting three-wheelers, Chief Minister Budhhadeb Bhattacharjee said, “It was a Calcutta High Court order. What can we do about it? We are equally concerned about the operators. We will appeal before the high court.”
Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen, Transport Secretary Sumantra Choudhury and city police chief Goutam Mohan Chakraborty are likely to meet on Monday to discuss the issue.
On Saturday, the city was brought to a standstill by a 12-hour strike by three-wheeler and taxi operators’ strike and several political rallies and meetings throughout the day. The police, however, failed to seize a single three-wheeler on Saturday.
Different parts of central Kolkata turned into battlefields as three-wheeler operators set fire to three state-owned buses.
Political rallies and meetings by the TMC and the CPI(M) blocked almost all the arterial roads and major crossings.
However, as the strike was observed by the INTTUC, backed by the Trinamul Congress (TMC), thousands of illegal and two-stroke vehicles continued to ply in the city under the CPI(M)-affiliated CITU’s banner.
Police Commissioner Chakraborty said, “Over the past two days, several collateral damages took place. Under these circumstances, we will have to work out some modalities as to how to implement the order in a smooth manner.”