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Kolkata: Commuters and visitors arriving in Kolkata tomorrow 6 August may have to face immense hardship in fetching a cab!

This is because taxi drivers in the city have called for a 48-hour strike from tomorrow morning against the hefty amount of fine provided for in the Motor Vehicles Act, 2019, and demanding a hike in fare.

The worry is that drivers of both the yellow taxis and app cabs like Ola and Uber have decided to join the strike.

West Bengal Taxi Workers Federation is leading the yellow taxi drivers; the app can drivers are being led by App Cab Operators and Drivers Union. CPI-M’s trade union wing, CITU, has extended support.

As a result of the strike, some 20,000 yellow taxis and another 12,000 app cabs are likely to stay off the Kolkata streets on 6 and 7 August.

This will immensely inconvenience people arriving from outside at Howrah, Sealdah railway stations and at the Kolkata airport.

The striking taxi drivers will also hold a protest gathering at Sealdah tomorrow noon.

The yellow taxi drivers are demanding that scrapping of the higher fine slabs from the MV Act, increasing the base fare from Rs 30 to Rs 40 and increasing the waiting charge from Rs 2 a minute to Rs 3, and paying Rs 5-lakh compensation to the family if a driver is killed in an accident.

The app cab drivers are demanding that the 25 per cent commission that the app cab companies now deduct from them should be lowered to 15 per cent.

This apart, both the yellow taxi and app cab drivers has commission demand as well. That is, putting an end to harassment and slapping of fine by the police over even a minor mistake by the drivers.

West Bengal Online Cab Operators Guild has, however, said that they will not participate in the strike that kicks off tomorrow but at the same time will not force a driver to report to duty.

The Guild had observed a strike on 1 and 2 July demanding reduction of commission of the app cab companies and early release of payment.