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Kolkata cabbies may keep off roads on Monday

IANS August 10, 2014 8:32 IST
Kolkata: A section of taxi drivers kept off the city roads on Saturday, while a left workers' body announced cabbies will hold a law-violation programme on Monday to protest police "excesses" over no-refusal issues.

Police said there are reports some taxi drivers are preparing for another round of an unannounced strike Monday.

This is despite the warning issued by the West Bengal transport department in the wake of a flash strike two days ago.

"The taxi drivers have decided not to bow down to the threats being issued by the government. They will participate in a law-violation programme Monday. If they are arrested, then there will be a strike," a leader of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) labour arm Centre of Trade Unions said.

He also demanded the 22 arrested taxi drivers be released.

Thursday, hundreds of cabbies pulled their vehicles off the roads and gathered at arterial roads to protest against alleged police excesses and harassment over no-refusal issues.

Police had to resort to a cane-charge to control the mob. There were several instances of vandalism.

"Even today (Saturday), many taxis refused to ply. The CPI-M and the BJP have told they will support them to get justice. The result is that commuters are suffering," Transport Minister Madan Mitra said.

The unprecedented decision to not ply stumped commuters and disrupted traffic across the city while surprising the traffic police and Bengal Taxi Association convenor Bimal Guha.

More than 20 arrests were made and Mitra warned the cabbies of stern action if such disruptions are repeated.

"We have got unconfirmed reports of another taxi strike Monday. We will take stern action if there is any breach of law," Deputy Commissioner (traffic) V. Solomon Nesakumar told IANS.

Mitra said his department has identified rogue cabbies against whom action will be taken.

He has asked the disgruntled cab drivers to participate in a meeting coming Wednesday where their grievances will be heard.