Transport associations in Assam have decided to continue with their indefinite strike after the state government on Tuesday made it clear that bus fares cannot be increased as people are facing many hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Various associations have been insisting on doubling the fares, but Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, in a meeting with its representatives, said it will be unwise to effect any hike in the present situation.
He urged them to call off the strike, with the assurance that all other demands would be looked into as long as public interest is not harmed.
The representatives said they want buses to operate with full passenger capacity, which the state government agreed to with necessary safety protocols.
A notification in this regard would be issued soon, the minister said.
He also assured the associations that payments for hiring buses during the lockdown period will be cleared at the earliest.
All Assam Motor Transport Association (AAMTA) Secretary-General Pradip Das said the state government has in the past "not fulfilled its promises".
"They only gave us assurances, but nothing in writing. The minutes of the meeting were also not shared with us. So, we cannot trust their words in this situation. Therefore, we have decided to continue our strike until we get something in writing," he said.
(With PTI inputs)