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Kolkata: THE proposed 48-hours bus-minibus strike in Kolkata and the districts starting 1 February has been called off by the transport operators.

The announcement came after three bus operators’ associations held a meeting with transport minister Suvendu Adhikari in Kolkata during the day.

Tapan Banerjee, the general secretary of Joint Council of Bus Syndicates, told reporters that during the meeting today, the transport minister constituted two committees headed by government officers to initiate a dialogue with bus operators on the demand for a hike in fare.

“The first committee is headed by IAS officer NS Nigam, which will deliberate on the demands of bus-minibus operators of Kolkata. It will meet us on 12 February. The second committee is headed by a transport department director and it will deal with the buses in the districts. It will meet the operators on 13 February,” Banerjee said.

“Then, on 15 February, transport secretary Alapan Banerjee will hold a meeting with us and convey the government’s decision on our demand for a fare hike and other related issues. We are hopeful that the government will meet our legitimate demands,” he added.

In the event of the government rejecting their demands, the Joint Council of Bus Syndicates will meet again on 19 February and announce a fresh date for a strike.

The private operators are demanding that in view of the increase in the prices of diesel and spares, the minimum bus fare should be hiked to Rs 10, and in case of minibus it should be Rs 12.

As of now, the starting fare for bus is Rs 6 for the first four km, and in case of minibus, the starting fare is Rs 7 for the first three km.