Commuters in the metropolis were inconvenienced today after over 30,000 cabs remained off roads following a strike called by several taxi unions protesting police atrocity and demanding fare hike. Calling today's strike "100 per cent successful", INTUC leader Ramen Pandey said taxi services would continue tomorrow while the unions would meet to decide on their future course of action.
"Today's strike was 100 per cent successful. Today we have shown our strength. We are happy that all the unions including those belonging to the ruling party participated in the strike," Pandey told PTI. Asked whether unions would again go for further strikes in support of their demands, Pandey said, "Strike is a very democratic way to press for one's demands and we are not ruling it out... Definitely there could be strikes." This was the sixth taxi strike in the city since August 7 called in support of various demands including fare hike and dropping of legal proceedings against 450 taxi-owners and to put a stop to imposing penalty of Rs 3,000 for passenger refusal.
"Fuel price has gone up by Rs 14 a litre and still the government wants us to run the show at the same old rate.. This is highly impractical," he said. Twenty-two drivers were arrested on the charge of committing vandalism during a protest on August 7 and taxis went off the roads on five earlier occasions since August 11 demanding their unconditional release. Following today's withdrawal of taxis from the roads, the public transport system comprising buses, trams and the underground railway system were overcrowded as passengers and office-goers had took to the public transport to reach their destinations on time.
Those arriving at the airport and railway stations at Howrah, Sealdah, and Kolkata termini had to wait for long to get hold of a transport to reach home and other places.
Pandey held the state government responsible for the inconvenience caused to people due to today's strike and said there was no communication from the transport department to end the imbroglio.