Kolkata : CPI-M labour arm CITU Thursday called a 24-hour transport strike across West Bengal July 31 to protest the increase in petrol and diesel prices.
“We are left with no option other than calling a total strike across the state July 31. Government and private buses, minibuses, auto rickshaws, trucks, lorry and truck unions will take part in the strike,” said Shyamal Chakraborty, CITU state president.
Petrol and diesel prices went up in seven states, including West Bengal, Wednesday following the readjustments done by the oil marketing companies based on local levies.
After the readjustments, petrol in Kolkata has become dearer by Rs.2.52 a litre at Rs.76.13 per litre. Diesel has also risen by Rs.0.92 per litre to sell at Rs.44.66.
Chief minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee has also threatened to hit the streets if the hike is not reversed.
“She is hoodwinking the people,” said Chakraborty. “On the one hand her party is the second largest constituent in the centre’s ruling UPA, and on the other hand she is railing against the decisions in Kolkata.”
Demanding withdrawal of the increased rates, Chakraborty also rapped Banerjee for refusing to give subsidy on petroleum and diesel prices.
“When she was in the opposition, she used to regularly demand that the state government lower taxes on petro-products whenever the prices were hiked. But she seems to have undergone a change of heart after coming to power.”
He said three lakh transport workers in the state are members of the CITU.
“With the increase in petro prices, the profits in the transport business have decreased. As a result, the workers, who mostly get a part of the profit as commission, are now hard pressed,” he said.