Transport associations had called for a bandh from 5 am on Monday, demanding fare hike for commercial vehicles Credit: Representational Image

Guwahati: Its day of the indefinite strike called by the All Assam Motor Transport Association (AAMTA) and commuters across the state are suffering. This problem could go on for a few more days as talks between the State transport minister and AAMTA failed.

AAMTA wants a hike in fares of commercial vehicles, waiver of quarter tax and road tax reduction of up to 50 per cent, among others.

In Guwahati, hundreds of city buses are lying idle in different parts of the city, especially during the morning office hours.

The transport department on Tuesday called the AAMTA stakeholders for a meeting to discuss the issues. Representatives of four transport associations, including AAMTA and All India Motor Transport Workers’ Federation, participated in the talks.

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State transport minister Chandramohan Patowary said that the state cannot increase bus fares and further burden the common people during the pandemic.

“During this hour of crisis, we cannot burden the common people and asked the motor transport association to run the buses in the earlier fares. Regarding the road tax we will discuss with the finance department and the issue of carrying 100 percent passengers, it will be discussed with the health department. We have called for another meeting after a week,” informed Patowary.

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In the meeting that was held on Tuesday, transport minister Chandra Mohan Patowary pleaded with the associations to end their strike and resume normal functioning. Patowary had given his assurance that demands of the transport associations would be taken into consideration but may take some time.

AMTA secretary general Pradip Das said that his association requested the minister to allow them to carry passengers to their full capacity in the very least.

“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,” Das stated.

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