Shimla: A strike call by private bus and taxi operators impacted normal life in the city early today.
School children and office commuters were a harassed lot even as police failed to take enough preventive measures for keeping the traffic open.
Not enough security seems to have been deployed as taxi and bus operators have deflated vehicle tyer’s, blocking traffic,” said Seema Thakur, a housewife who had a difficult time sending her girl child to school.
“Those taxi operators who do not want to be part of the strike are being bullied into accepting it as a no working day,” she said after witnessing stone pelting on a taxi operator who chose to make a fast buck from stranded commuters.
Efforts to contact a city traffic police officer fetched a response over phone from his wife, “he is out and has gone to drop the children to school.”
However when the police control room was contacted, a police spokesman denied that traffic was disrupted.
“We have not received and complaint, so far,” said the spokesman. Enough security has been deployed to check any untoward incident, he added.
The bus and taxi operators are resorting to a strike in order to force the government to roll back taxes that the state had decided to impose recently.
City commuters have a tough time
Private bus and taxi operators remained off the road in the city here, jeopardizing the public transport system as they are protesting the state government proposal to increase vehicle tax on the transport sector.
With most schools opening on today after a long three month winter break, the strike hindered movement of school children early in the day and later office commuters had a tough time reaching work place.
Though Himachal Roadways (HRTC), the state transport network, continued to ply its services through the day but with the fleet of private operators keeping off the road, the state roadways buses were a crowded lot, forcing many commuters to start early and walk to work.
When contacted SP Shimla, Jagat Ram said that barring blockage of traffic at two place, no untoward incident was reported from anywhere else in the city.
“Even at the two places where the protesting operators had deflated tyre’s in an attempt to block traffic, normalcy was quickly restored,” he said. No one has been rounded up for any law and order problem, he added.
Even though the Himachal government at its cabinet meeting presided over by chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Wednesday decided to defer the imposition of vehicle tax,yet the private operators pressed ahead to strike work for the day.
The government had come out with a notification on 4 February, declaring its intention of increasing vehicle tax from 15 February for small vehicles from Rs 1000-1500 to Rs 3000, medium vehicles from Rs 1500-2000 to Rs 3000 and for large vehicles from Rs 2000-2500 to Rs 3500.
The operators are demanding complete withdrawal of these increased taxes.