Another taxi strike in Kolkata on December 8

Kolkata: Taxi services are likely to be hit in the metropolis for the ninth time since August following a strike call Dec 8 by labour organisation Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU), demanding a fare hike and protesting alleged police atrocities on drivers.

The CITU - the labour arm of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) - also wants police to withdraw pending cases against 25 taxi drivers, who were arrested in August during a rally in the bustling city hub Esplanade.

CITU leader Anadi Sahu claimed over 50,000 taxis will stay off the roads Dec 8.

"In August, 25 cab drivers were arrested during a rally in Esplanade. We want police to withdraw the cases against these drivers and stop atrocities," Sahu told IANS Saturday.

The strike will encompass the metropolitan area of Kolkata, including North 24 Parganas and the Howrah-Hoogly belt.

Sahu said the state government's moves to hike the fine for passenger refusal from Rs.100 to Rs.3,000 and parking fine hike from Rs.100 to Rs.800 was hurting the cabbies dearly.

Besides, the CITU is also protesting against the Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2014, which is likely to replace the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 in the winter session of parliament.

"A new bill is going to be introduced in parliament which will be detrimental to driver's interests. The strike is also in protest to the policies of the central government as well," Sahu said.

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