Transport strike called off following toll revisions

EOI CORRESPONDENT
Darjeeling
9 Dec 2013

Transport associations have decided to resume operations from Tuesday after the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration today made amendments to toll rates on Rohini road.

The truck association had launched an indefinite strike from December 3 in protest of what it called high toll rates. The taxi association followed suit and decided not to operate from December 7.

The GTA had come under pressure following this and slashed the toll rates for some vehicle categories, but the transport associations were not satisfied and demanded more cuts.

Transport department officials of the GTA today convened a meeting with the truck and taxi associations and acceded to some more cuts following which the strike was lifted.

Under the revised toll rates, two-wheelers will need to pay Rs5, taxis Rs10, private luxury vehicles and luxury taxis Rs30, mini buses Rs40, pickup vans Rs20 and trucks Rs30 each time they use the toll plaza. The rates will be applicable from Tuesday.

Darjeeling Truck Drivers’ Association general secretary Rajen Chhetri said, “We have decided to resume services from tomorrow onwards as the GTA has revised the toll rates to our satisfaction. We also apologise to the public for causing them inconvenience.”

Participants at the meeting included members of the Siliguri Main Line Chalak Sangathan (Junction unit), Siliguri Main Line Association, All Transport Joint

Action Committee, Kurseong Pickup Van Drivers’ Welfare Association and Darjeeling Siliguri Drivers’ Welfare Association.

GTA transport department executive member Jyoti Kumar Rai expressed delight with the transport associations’ decision to call off their strike.

“We sat for a meeting with the transport associations after receiving complaints of the high toll rates. We decided to revise the rates and the associations have accepted our proposal,” he said.

But Rai did not forget to rebuke the transport associations for calling the strike without prior notice. He said, “The strike was called without notice and that is wrong. Now that we have revised the rates upon mutual consent, we hope the agitating side is satisfied. However, if such a move is made again or road blockades are resorted to, we will take stringent actions.”

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