Alarge section of private and mini bus owners today expressed dissatisfaction over chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s proposal of providing financial assistance of rupees 15,000 to 6000 operators in Kolkata.
The bus owners’ discontent mainly pertained to the fact that the financial assistance was announced for operators providing services in the city while a large section of their counterparts have been kept out of the beneficial scheme.
Also, the operators claim that the proposed subsidy of three months was only a temporary idea while they need a permanent solution for the members of the industry to sustain.
“The idea is not viable for us. Larger section of bus operators provide services in the districts. They have continued their services during critical times of the pandemic. We all are like members of one family. How can they be left out of the benefits?” said general secretary of Joint Council of Bus Syndicates, Tapan Banerjee.
“We do not want this division. We demand that whatever subsidy is provided, it should be allowed for the operators of Kolkata and the districts alike. Also, a permanent solution should be worked out which should be feasible in the long run,” added the union leader of the organisation that has over 42,000 buses across the state.
The representatives of most of the private and mini bus organisations, have hailed the CM’s proposal to include the drivers and conductors in the state government’s health insurance scheme of Swastha Sathi. Meanwhile, reacting to Miss Banerjee’s proposal of running metro services with passengers only up to the seating capacity, officials of Kolkata Metro Rail informed that the authorities are awaiting the instructions from the Railway Board.
“As the communication is between the state government and the railway ministry, the actual plan as to how the social distancing protocol could be implemented can be decided only after instructions are received from the central authorities to us,” informed a senior official of metro railway.
Notably, even though the metro authorities were already preparing for maintenance of social distancing in coaches with seats being earmarked for passengers, implementing the idea in reality could be a little complicated, according to the official.
“Therefore, a decision on allowing passengers only up to the seating capacity could be reached only after a discussion with the state government,” said the official.