Kolkata: Yellow taxi call off services after app-based cabs held 48 hrs strike

Anuj Cariappa

Kolkata, July 02: Commuters in Kolkata are in distress with the beginning of the week. On Monday more than 25,000 cabs went off the roads due to a 48-hour strike called by associations of online cabs. The situation is set to worsen on Tuesday as a yellow taxi drivers' union is going on a separate strike.

The yellow taxi drivers' union is also organizing a march to the police headquarters to protest against 'police atrocities'.

However, yellow cab (metered taxi) drivers made hay after app cabs went off the streets on Monday. The cabbies demanded five times the regular fare and refused to switch on the meters.

As per report, the fare from Burrabazar to the airport that should not exceed Rs 500. However, yellow taxi drivers demanded Rs 2,000 for the stretch in the morning. Passengers faced harassment in busy areas like Howrah station, Esplanade and other places as the yellow taxis demanded hefty amounts from them. Also, there was a shortage of taxis on the road.

In Esplanade area, a cab was attacked by protesters for taking a passenger on board. The commuter was asked to get off and the car was vandalised.

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Three persons have been arrested for damaging the car, a Kolkata police officer said.

Reportedly, West Bengal Online Cab Operators' Guild (WBOCOG) and an organisation of luxury taxis providing services to the government offices have jointly called the strike protesting exploitation by the cab aggregators.

State Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari on Sunday had said that the government will make arrangements of additional buses to ensure the commuters did not face any problem.

Anticipating greater trouble on Tuesday, Kolkata Police has decided to operate special control rooms at Dorina crossing in Esplanade, and at the railway stations in Howrah and Sealdah. Additional forces will be deployed in these areas to avert untoward incidents. Bidhannagar Police will operate a similar control room at the airport.

WBTC will run its full fleet and keep a reserve fleet to cater to the areas where passengers are stranded.

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