Millennium Post

Toto drivers ransack govt offices houses, in Balurghat

The agitation by toto drivers continued for the second day on Thursday, with a mob ransacking some houses, the Municipality office and the BDO office at Balurghat after the district administration restricted the entry of the totos in Balurghat.

Hundreds of toto drivers on Thursday morning staged a demonstration at Dangi More area and stopped some of the Municipality vehicles that were carrying garbage to a nearby dumping ground.

The agitated mob then went on to ransack some houses situated at a slum near the dumping ground, and the Municipality and BDO offices of Balurghat.

A huge contingent of police rushed to the spot and dispersed the mob from the BDO office.

One of the agitating drivers also threatened to commit suicide if the district administration did not allow them to drive in the main town.

The drivers said they had bought the totos on loan and needed to repay the amount as soon as possible.
If they were not allowed to ply their vehicles in the town, they will be unable to get enough fare to 
repay the loan, complicating their situation.

The incident prompted the officer-in-charge of the local police station to rush to the spot. Combat force 
was also called in to control the mob.

Chairman of Balurghat Municipality Rajen Sil and DSP Headquarters Soumyojit Barua also reached the spot to pacify the mob.

A police picket was set up to ease the tension that prevailed in the area for a while.

The district administration said that action will be taken against the toto drivers who would be found flouting the guidelines.

The administration recently issued an order demarcating the areas of operation for the totos plying in the rural and urban areas. The decision was taken after massive traffic congestion was reported from various areas. Senior officials of the district administration, police, municipalities and gram panchayats discussed the issue and decided that totos that were running in urban areas would not be allowed to ply in the rural belt and vice-versa.

Thursday’s incident led to a massive traffic jam along the Balurghat-Tapan state expressway near Bhachakbrighu area. On Wednesday, several toto drivers had gheraoed senior police officers demanding withdrawal of an administrative order.
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