Additional buses, deployment of forces, insurance in cases of damage caused to vehicles — these are among the measures taken by the state government to ensure normalcy during the 48-hour nationwide strike called by Left-backed trade unions.
Among the demands put forward by the unions are minimum wage, universal social security, workers’ status and including pay and facilities for the scheme workers.
The Bengal Taxi Association, Joint Council of Bus Syndicate and online cab operators have announced that they will not take part in the strike. Transport Minister Suvendhu Adhikari has assured that those who provide vehicular services during the strike — Tuesday and Wednesday — will not face any problems.
“Buses will be available, I have also spoken to police. People will have no problem reaching their destinations,” said Adhikari.
State transport undertakings will run 2,200 buses in Kolkata and 30 per cent of additional buses will be kept in reserve for use in case of emergencies. The department has also opened two grievance helplines — 8902017191 and 18003455192.
“If a vehicle is attacked and damaged, the driver or owner has to lodge an FIR. Once FIR is lodged and showed at Kasba control room, the government will redress the issue through insurance,” said a government official.
Police said strong action will be taken against any person or group trying to forcibly impose the strike.
“All arrangements have been done. No forceful bandh or road blockade will be allowed. Additional force will be deployed for the security of public offices, transport deports and on main roads to prevent any incident or loss of property,” said Amit Javalgi, DC (Headquarters) of Bidhannagar police.
Sources said the railways and Metro will also function normally.
“Additional security will be deployed in and around railway stations to prevent any untoward incident,” said South Eastern Railway CPRO Sanjay Ghosh.
Metro officials said counters will open like any other day. “We will run 300 Metro trains as usual and are also keeping staff overnight,” said CPRO Indrani Banerjee.
‘People will reject politics of strikes’
Meanwhile, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh welcomed the state government’s move to not allow central trade unions to observe the two-day strike.
Speaking to reporters, Ghosh said, “If the state government discharges its duty in foiling the bandh, we will support it. The central government has not supported the bandh and does not want anyone to stall the development of the country. Life will remain normal for the next two days and people will reject the politics of observing strikes.”
Congress state president Somen Mitra, however, said, “It is clear that they (BJP) are on the same pitch and there is a tacit understanding between them. The cat has finally come out of the bag.”