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Chakka bandh cripples normal life in city

By CITY CORRESPONDENT

GUWAHATI, Oct 5 - Commuters today had a tough time after hundreds of�buses went off the roads in view of the indefinite chakka bandh called by the All Assam Motor Transport Association (AAMTA) across the State.�

The AAMTA called the bandh from 5 am today, demanding fare hike for commercial vehicles, waiver of quarter tax and road tax reduction up to 50 per cent, among others.

�The bus operators are going through a tough time due to the pandemic and lockdown,� AAMTA secretary general Pradip Das said.

�We will sit for a discussion tomorrow with the transport department. How long will the strike continue will depend on the outcome of tomorrow�s discussion,� he said.

The impact of the bandh was felt across the State.

Dulal Bora, a resident of Beltola here, said, �There was no bus on the road. The government buses were almost packed with passengers and therefore I had to cancel my decision to go to Tezpur.�

In the morning, hundreds of people, many of them office-goers, were seen waiting for buses.�As only a few government-run city buses were seen on the roads, people preferred to hire cabs and autovans.�

�The sudden drop in the number of city buses put people like me in deep trouble. The government-run city buses were also limited in number. The government should have focused on increasing the number of such buses,� Nagen Saikia, a resident of Bhangagarh, said.

There were some reports that several ASTC buses carried 100 per cent passengers in the city, violating the COVID-19 protocol, and even charged high fares from the passengers.

�They charged Rs 11 to travel from Narengi to Chandmari, which is higher than the fare charged by the private city buses. The private buses charge Rs 10 for the same distance,� said one Vivek Kumar, showing the e-ticket produced by operator of the bus he travelled in.

When asked, ASTC Chairman Ashok Kumar Bhattarai said there was no instruction to charge higher fares from passengers.

�It might have been a mistake on the part of the bus conductors concerned. There was no such instruction from the Corporation,� Bhattarai said, adding the Corporation has already instructed the bus operators to fill only 50 per cent of the total seat capacity.

�We will take care to ensure that such violations from our side do not occur from tomorrow,� he stated.

�Altogether 650 government buses plied across the State during the bandh. Around 250 city buses plied in the city. The frequency of the bus trips was also increased to cater to more passengers. The same will be followed tomorrow as well,� he said.

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Chakka bandh cripples normal life in city

GUWAHATI, Oct 5 - Commuters today had a tough time after hundreds of�buses went off the roads in view of the indefinite chakka bandh called by the All Assam Motor Transport Association (AAMTA) across the State.�

The AAMTA called the bandh from 5 am today, demanding fare hike for commercial vehicles, waiver of quarter tax and road tax reduction up to 50 per cent, among others.

�The bus operators are going through a tough time due to the pandemic and lockdown,� AAMTA secretary general Pradip Das said.

�We will sit for a discussion tomorrow with the transport department. How long will the strike continue will depend on the outcome of tomorrow�s discussion,� he said.

The impact of the bandh was felt across the State.

Dulal Bora, a resident of Beltola here, said, �There was no bus on the road. The government buses were almost packed with passengers and therefore I had to cancel my decision to go to Tezpur.�

In the morning, hundreds of people, many of them office-goers, were seen waiting for buses.�As only a few government-run city buses were seen on the roads, people preferred to hire cabs and autovans.�

�The sudden drop in the number of city buses put people like me in deep trouble. The government-run city buses were also limited in number. The government should have focused on increasing the number of such buses,� Nagen Saikia, a resident of Bhangagarh, said.

There were some reports that several ASTC buses carried 100 per cent passengers in the city, violating the COVID-19 protocol, and even charged high fares from the passengers.

�They charged Rs 11 to travel from Narengi to Chandmari, which is higher than the fare charged by the private city buses. The private buses charge Rs 10 for the same distance,� said one Vivek Kumar, showing the e-ticket produced by operator of the bus he travelled in.

When asked, ASTC Chairman Ashok Kumar Bhattarai said there was no instruction to charge higher fares from passengers.

�It might have been a mistake on the part of the bus conductors concerned. There was no such instruction from the Corporation,� Bhattarai said, adding the Corporation has already instructed the bus operators to fill only 50 per cent of the total seat capacity.

�We will take care to ensure that such violations from our side do not occur from tomorrow,� he stated.

�Altogether 650 government buses plied across the State during the bandh. Around 250 city buses plied in the city. The frequency of the bus trips was also increased to cater to more passengers. The same will be followed tomorrow as well,� he said.

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