Drivers protest hike in LPG price, block major intersections
Statesman News Service
Kolkata, 2 January
Commuters of Salt Lake were greatly inconvenienced this morning after auto-rickshaw drivers went on a wildcat strike protesting recent LPG price hike.
Auto-rickshaw drivers affiliated to Trinamul Congress, INTUC, and Citu have joined the strike.
Peeved at the rise in price of LPG and the state government’s no fare hike policy, auto drivers took to the streets blocking major intersections of Salt Lake, Ultadanga and Karunamoyee.
From 1 January state-owned oil marketing companies ~ IOC, BPCL and HPCL ~ increased the
price of auto LPG from Rs 54.26 per litre to to Rs 65.71 per litre.
The auto-rickshaw operators who refused to ply their vehicles this morning shouted slogans and put up roadblocks at important junctions causing traffic snarls during the morning peak hour.
Long queues of commuters were seen at auto-rickshaw stands near Ultadanga station, Sector V, Karunamoyee, Laboni and City Centre.
Mr Babun Ghosh, secretary of the Kolkata Auto Rickshaw Operators Union, affiliated to the Citu, said: "Profit has gone down following the rise in LPG price. The strike has been called to protest against this arbitrary price hike."
Last week a high-level meeting between police and senior officials of the Transport Department was held at Paribahan Bhavan.
State Transport Minister Madan Mitra, during the meeting, had said auto and bus fares would not be hiked in the state.
Representatives of Trinamul Congress’ trade union wing were also present at the meeting.
"Law will take its own course. But we will not allow hooliganism in the city," Mr Mitra said.
Ms Dola Sen, Inttuc state president, said the union did not support price hike and the party would launch an agitation against the Centre’s decision.
She said that no auto-rickshaw driver from her union joined today’s strike.