IMPHAL, Oct 3: Many passenger buses were smashed or forced to halt on the way by strike supporters Friday as the indefinite chakka bandh called by the All Manipur Bus Owners Association commenced from 5 am this morning on the demand of hiking of fare rates.
Office goers had to take lifts to their work places today owing to the suspension of bus services on all the important main roads.
At least 22 strikers who smashed or forced buses to halt at various places were detained by the police.
Members of the AMBOA are demanding raising of fares by 30 percent of the existing rates lamenting that government failed to revise the fares since 2005 even though the price of fuel had been hiked on many instances.
Today morning, members of the striking body turned out at Sekmai bazar along the NH-39 and blocked the inter-state services leaving Imphal for other places outside the state.
They also broke windshields of at least four inter-state buses for violating the strike and attempting to go ahead with passengers.
Strike supporters also took to the streets along the Tiddim road at Ningthoukhong, Bishnupur as well in Thoubal on the Indo-Myanmar road and Mayang Imphal on the Mayai Lambi road to block the passenger buses. They also deflated the tyres of the vehicles.
Police detained four strikers at Mayang Imphal, five at Bishnupur bazar and 13 at Thoubal while they were blocking and smashing the vehicles.
The empty bus parkings in Imphal were seen crowded by the people who looked for alternate means. Taxi services also took advantage and transported them at higher charges.
Speaking to the IFP, secretary of the striking body, AMBOA, A Priyokumar while justifying the demand for hiking of the fares said that even though the fuel prices since 2005 had increased by Rs. 8 per litre the fares fixed by the state government still remain unchanged.
He also observed that the prices of goods had also hiked manifold since then and owners were facing deficit while running their buses.
“Since long back we have been pressing the state government to make a revision in the fare rates of the passenger vehicles. We have submitted various memorandums and carried out sit-in protests on the same demand, but the state government is still silent on our demands,” he said.
Even though they don’t want to launch such stirs considering the problems to be faced by the people, they are compelled to do so, he said while appealing to all to bear with them.
He also demanded immediate unconditional release of the strikers detained by the police and hinted at intensification of the stir if their demands were not fulfilled by the authorities.