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Talks fail, chakka bandh to continue

By City Correspondent

GUWAHATI, Oct 6 - The indefinite chakka bandh called by the All Assam Motor Transport Association (AAMTA) will continue as the talks between the State Transport Minister and office bearers of AAMTA held on Tuesday failed to break any ice. The Transport Department on Tuesday called the AAMTA office bearers for a meeting to discuss the issues. Representatives of four transport associations, including AAMTA and All India Motor Transport Workers� Federation, participated in the meeting.

AAMTA�had called the bandh from 5 am on Monday, demanding fare hike for commercial vehicles, waiver of quarter tax and road tax reduction of up to 50 per cent, among others. The impact of the bandh was seen across the State. In Guwahati, hundreds of city buses were off the roads, mainly during the morning office hours. Hundreds of people, particularly office goers, were seen stranded at bus stands. During the meeting, Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary requested the associations to call off their strike. Patowary assured the associations that their demands would be looked into, but it would take some time.

Patowary stated that the bus fare cannot be increased as it would not be wise to double the fare immediately in the current circumstances. However, he assured to look into all other demands without harming public interest.

A government source said another meeting is likely to be held in this regard.

AAMTA secretary general Pradip Das said the association urged the Minister to at least allow them to carry passengers to their full capacity.

�The Minister assured us that he will discuss it with the Health department but he failed to provide any written statement which we demanded from him. We will call off the strike only if we get a written assurance,� he said. �We are not in a position to operate the vehicles with 50 per cent seat capacity and with such a minimal fare any more,� he added.

Meanwhile, the tourist taxi associations also raised the issue of Meghalaya vehicles carrying passengers to different places of Assam, apart from airport and railway stations. The Minister said the State Transport Department has already taken up the matter with the Government of Meghalaya and assured that the issue will be resolved shortly.

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Talks fail, chakka bandh to continue

GUWAHATI, Oct 6 - The indefinite chakka bandh called by the All Assam Motor Transport Association (AAMTA) will continue as the talks between the State Transport Minister and office bearers of AAMTA held on Tuesday failed to break any ice. The Transport Department on Tuesday called the AAMTA office bearers for a meeting to discuss the issues. Representatives of four transport associations, including AAMTA and All India Motor Transport Workers� Federation, participated in the meeting.

AAMTA�had called the bandh from 5 am on Monday, demanding fare hike for commercial vehicles, waiver of quarter tax and road tax reduction of up to 50 per cent, among others. The impact of the bandh was seen across the State. In Guwahati, hundreds of city buses were off the roads, mainly during the morning office hours. Hundreds of people, particularly office goers, were seen stranded at bus stands. During the meeting, Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary requested the associations to call off their strike. Patowary assured the associations that their demands would be looked into, but it would take some time.

Patowary stated that the bus fare cannot be increased as it would not be wise to double the fare immediately in the current circumstances. However, he assured to look into all other demands without harming public interest.

A government source said another meeting is likely to be held in this regard.

AAMTA secretary general Pradip Das said the association urged the Minister to at least allow them to carry passengers to their full capacity.

�The Minister assured us that he will discuss it with the Health department but he failed to provide any written statement which we demanded from him. We will call off the strike only if we get a written assurance,� he said. �We are not in a position to operate the vehicles with 50 per cent seat capacity and with such a minimal fare any more,� he added.

Meanwhile, the tourist taxi associations also raised the issue of Meghalaya vehicles carrying passengers to different places of Assam, apart from airport and railway stations. The Minister said the State Transport Department has already taken up the matter with the Government of Meghalaya and assured that the issue will be resolved shortly.

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