Kolkata transport workers to hold rally Sep 10

Kolkata : In what could yet again immobilise traffic in Kolkata Wednesday, a section of transport workers have scheduled a mammoth rally to protest against what they call “anarchy” in public transport services and police atrocities on taxi drivers.

Transport workers of taxis, buses and auto-rickshaws affiliated to eight central trade unions, including the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Indian National Trade Union Congress, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), will march from College Square in north Kolkata to Metro Channel in the city’s centre around 3.30 pm.

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“All transport workers affiliated to central trade unions will participate in the rally,” said CITU leader and former minister Anadi Sahu, refusing to call it a strike. “It is not a strike,” he said.

But with the drivers participating in the rally, vehicles will be hard to find.

Deepak Sarkar of Bengal Bus Syndicate said most of the bus drivers will not join in.

“Private buses will ply. It is mainly organised by CITU and some AITUC workers will also join in,” Sarkar told IANS.

Taxi drivers have pulled out their vehicles from the city roads on six earlier occasions in less than a month by calling wildcat strikes or protest marches as part of their movement against alleged police “excesses”.

At the centre of the dispute is the government decision to increase the fine for refusing passengers from Rs.100 to Rs.3,000 to combat repeated complaints.

Earlier this month, the government arrested 22 drivers for vandalism as they damaged taxis which did not heed their call and continued plying. They were released on bail after spending four days in jail.

Around 37,000 taxis ply in the city daily.