48-hr app cab strike to spell trouble for Kolkatans
Kolkata: Commuters in the city may face hassle in reaching their destinations, with app cabs staying off roads on Monday and Tuesday. The 48-hour strike has been called jointly by the West Bengal Online Cab Operators' Guild (WBOCOG), as a protest against their alleged exploitation by cab aggregators and harassment by police.
State Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari, however, assured on Sunday that the state government will have adequate arrangement of state buses to ensure that commuters face no difficulty in reaching their destinations.
"The strike has been called by a particular union and all app cabs will not stay off roads. I have requested the police to ensure that app cab drivers who want to render services can do so without any difficulty. The police will take steps if anybody tries to forcibly stop services," Adhikari said.
The minister said that around 100 additional buses (both AC and non-AC) will be pressed into service on Monday and Tuesday.
There are a total of 20,000 app cabs belonging to two leading app cab aggregators and around 15,000 take to the roads daily. There are more than 5,000 cabs that are affiliated to WBOCOG.
"The aggregating companies, despite repeated deputations, letters and agitations, have not provided any solution to the issues of the member drivers. We have repeatedly requested to increase our drivers' share of income and to revive the IDs of drivers that have been blocked without any proper justification," said Indranil Banerjee of WBOCOG.
WBOCOG wrote a letter to the two leading aggregators recently, urging them to respond to their demands within seven days. However, they had received no response.
An organisation of luxury taxis affiliated to AITUC have also announced strike on Tuesday, demanding that their repeated pleas to the state government for increase of fares have fallen on deaf ears.
"There are around 9,500 luxury taxis rendering services at various government organisations across the state. A number of cases and penalties imposed by police has also been a concern and the drivers are finding it difficult to support their families," a member of the organisation said.