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By A Newsman

Kolkata, 16 September: PRIVATE operators have called a 24-hour bus-minibus strike on Monday 28 September in Kolkata, Howrah, North and South 24-Parganas districts against alleged police atrocities on bus drivers.

In specific, the owners are aggrieved at the imposition of Rs 400 to Rs 600 fine that the police slap on drivers for every single traffic violation. The owners also allege that in many cases traffic cops impound the licence of bus drivers, thus not only resulting in the bus being grounded but also robbing livelihood of the drivers.

The bus operators announced the strike after a meeting of the various owners’ associations Wednesday afternoon. The associations include the Joint Council of Bus Syndicates, Bus-Minibus Coordination Committee and the Minibus Operators Coordination Committee.

Abasesh Daw of the Joint Council said that around 15,000 bus and minibuses in Kolkata, Howrah, North and South 24-Parganas districts would take part in the 28 September strike.

He recalled that the owners had called off a two-day strike in July after the state government promised to look into their demands. “Bus nothing has been done as yet. On 10 September, we sent a reminder to the transport department giving a seven day deadline to meet our demands but there has been no response,” Daw said.

The bus operators expect the state to slash the fine for traffic violation substantially, as it has done in case of taxis plying in Kolkata. The taxis which were required to pay a fine of up to Rs 3,000 for passenger refusal and traffic violation, now pay only Rs 100 after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee earlier this year announced a slash in the fine to Rs 100 per violation.