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Will acquire pvt buses if they don't ply even after July 1: CM

Will acquire pvt buses if they dont ply even after July 1: CM
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Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Tuesday, threatened to acquire 6,000 private buses in Kolkata through the imposition of National Disaster Management Act if the owners continue to refuse to operate them even after July 1.

"We had announced a package of Rs 27 crore to extend financial support of Rs 15,000 to each of the 6,000 buses for the next three months following thorough discussions with their unions. I am hopeful that they will be plying the buses from July 1. In case they continue not to operate the same, the state government will acquire the buses to operate them by deploying drivers and helpers," Banerjee said after holding the bus operators' associations responsible for the stalemate.

Commuters in Kolkata are facing a harrowing time for the past few weeks with a maximum number of private buses in the city remaining off the roads demanding a hike in fare as the fuel prices have gone up and the maximum number of passengers to travel in a bus at a time has also been restricted.

"I protest against the abnormal hike in fuel prices which is inhumane at this critical time. But it is not right to hike bus fare as well," Banerjee said.

Willing drivers and helpers of these private buses will be allowed to operate the same against payment. If they do not take up the job, then the state government will deploy drivers and helpers to run the buses.

To ensure better transport arrangement in the city, state Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha wrote to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla requesting to give consent of the Ministry of Home Affairs for relaxing the norms for Kolkata to run a bare minimum number of Metro Rail services to help people involved in essential services reach their destinations. He stated it to be crucial with only 2,500 private buses out of 6,000 plying in the city as of now.

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