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Taxi unions call off strike, dispute continues in Kolkata

The taxi operators have held Kolkata for ransom for two days as most of the taxis remained off road alleging excesses by the police.

15 Aug 14

Though the Taxi unions have called off their strike, a meeting between State Transport Minister Madan Mitra and taxi unions ended here on Wednesday without any solution to the ongoing discord between the Unions and the government.

“The meeting was called only for hearing and not for any solution,” Center for Indian Trade Unions ( CITU) leader Subhas Mukherjee told journalists. The issues which the taxi unions raised included scrapping the fine for taxi refusal and withdrawing charges against 21 taxi drivers who were arrested for participating in protests in the city last week. The police had arrested them claiming that the taxi drivers had indulged in vandalism.

The representatives of Bengal Taxi association also demanded a revision of taxi fares. Bimal Guha, a representative of the taxi union said that the taxi operators may go for a strike before the Durga Puja if the fares are not revised,

State’s Transport Minister Madan Mitra, said that the State government will not go for any compromise with taxi workers.

“They (taxi drivers) will have to ensure that there is no refusal,” the Minister said

Mr Mitra also threatened to challenge the bail granted to 21 drivers by a city court on Tuesday in higher courts.

“We are considering moving an appeal before a higher court challenging the bail of the errant taxi drivers ,” he added. Both the minister and representatives of the taxi unions said that the meeting was inconclusive.

The taxi operators have held the city for ransom for two days as most of the taxis remained off road alleging excesses by the police. The taxi operators claim that a hefty fine of Rs 3,000 was imposed by the police for refusal which should be withdrawn.