WB govt says bus fare hike should not be more than Re one

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Summary'Under no circumstances the bus fare hike will be more than Re one at any stage.'

The West Bengal government which increased fares of buses on November one following strikes by operators, today added a rider that the hike could not be more than Re one for any stage.

Echoing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's view that the fare hike was being "misinterpreted", Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee said, "Under no circumstances the bus fare hike will be more than Re one at any stage."

The chief minister, expressing annoyance yesterday over

increase in fares by Rs 3 and Rs 4 for certain stages, had

asked Transport Minister Madan Mitra to review it.

Refusing to take questions, Chatterjee who was speaking to reporters after a hurriedly called meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) in Transport said, "I have only come to say what we have decided. We won't take any questions."

Asked if the fare charts issued by the Regional Transport Authority would be replaced incorporating the directive, Chatterjee declined to comment.

To a question how the fare chart issued by the government after the increase in fares on November one was being misinterpreted when bus conductors were collecting fares based on it, Chatterjee did not reply.

Finance Minister Amit Mitra and Transport Minister Madan Mitra, who are part of the GOM and were present also did not comment.

On November 1, fares of buses, mini-buses and taxis were increased following long-pending demands by operators.

An indefinite strike called by operators of 60,000 private buses, the mainstay of public transport in the state, in early October was postponed till October 29 following a meeting between the chief minister and transport operators.

The Joint Council of Bus Syndicate had called an indefinite strike earlier from October 9 causing immense suffering to commuters.

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