Mamata warns officials against taking part in transport strike
Kolkata, July 26 (IANS) Flaying the CPI-M's labour arm CITU for calling a 24-hour transport strike July 31, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday threatened to cancel licences of public vehicles if they stayed off the roads.
The Trinamool Congress chief also said that her party workers would oppose the strike.
Earlier in the day, CITU called the transport strike across West Bengal protesting against the increase in petrol and diesel prices.
CITU state president Shyamal Chakravorty said all transport which run on diesel and petrol -- government and private buses, minibuses, auto rickshaws, trucks and lorries -- will be under the ambit of the strike.
In a strong reaction, Banerjee said her government would withdraw the Rs.600 crore subsidy paid to the state transport corporations annually on account of salaries if the employees take part in the strike.
"Some shameless people have hatched a conspiracy. The CPI-M has not done anything during the 34 years it was in power in the state. They should know that the people will not tolerate their actions.
"We don't support strikes or shutdowns because they lead to loss of mandays. And the state's economy which is in pretty bad shape would be further hit," Banerjee told mediapersons at the state secretariat Writers' Buildings.
"We will stop paying subsidies to transport corporations if their workers take part in the strike. We will consider cancelling licences of public transport if these vehicles keep off the roads," she said.
Threatening the state transport corporation workers, she said by withdrawing the subsidy the government would buy buses worth Rs.600 crore to benefit commuters.
Asking transport operators to hit the roads July 31, she said the government would give protection if their vehicles were damaged by strikers.
Replying to a query, she said if the strike was not called off, Trinamool workers would take out processions in all localities demanding the CPI-M pay back to the state exchequer the Rs.2 lakh crore loan the Left Front government had burdened the state with during their rule.
"The Trinamool workers will rally the people against the CPI-M's motivated acts," she said.
Petrol and diesel prices went up in seven states, including West Bengal, Wednesday following readjustments done by the oil companies based on local levies.
After the readjustments, petrol in Kolkata would be dearer by Rs.2.52 a litre to sell at Rs.76.13 per litre while diesel rates would rise by Rs.0.92 per litre to sell at Rs.44.66.
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