Kolkata, July 29 - The proposed state-wide transport strike called by CPI(M)-backed trade union CITU on July 31 was today postponed following a request by Left Front chairman Biman Bose.
"The Left Front chairman has requested us to postpone the strike as several other agitational programmes are lined up from August one against price rise," Centre of Indian Trade Unions' state president Shyamal Chakraborty told reporters here today.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had warned of stern action against those participating in the strike and threatened to cancel the licenses of private bus owners besides withdrawing subsidy to state transport corporations if they joined the agitation.
The CITU strike call ran into rough weather with other Left trade unions deciding not to participate in the strike.
Sharp differences cropped up among the Left trade unions yesterday over the strike with CPI's labour arm AITUC and RSP's UTUC not supporting CITU's decision.
Private bus owners' bodies had yesterday said that they would not join the strike.
The CITU state president claimed that the postponement was not due to any pressure.
"We are not bowing to any pressure. You may think so, but we don't," Chakraborty said to a query.
Reacting to CITU's decision to withdraw the proposed strike, the Trinamool Congress said the CPI(M) had no choice but to withdraw the stir as it was totally isolated by their partners.
"The CITU strike for Tuesday in Bengal has been called off. Bravo. The CPI(M) totally isolated by partners had no choice," party MP Derek O'Brien said in a statement.
"For three decades Bengal suffered the Communists. Happy that Tuesday's CITU strike is now called off," he said.
Asked if CITU had succumbed to the Chief Minister's warning, state transport minister Madan Mitra preferred not to comment, saying, "I do not want to comment whether it was a surrender to us because we were not in the boxing ring. We are trying to put the state on the path of development."
Last Thursday, CITU state president Shyamal Chakraborty had announced that all commercial vehicles, including state buses, taxis, trucks and autorickshaws would observe a strike on July 31 in protest against the fuel price hike.
Despite being upset with the UPA government over the sudden hike in prices, Mamata had declared that she won't tolerate the CITU's strike on the issue.
"The state has had enough of strikes in the past 34 years, not more", Mamata had said.
The Joint Council of Bus Syndicates, a body of bus owners in West Bengal, also welcomed the CITU's decision, saying "It is a good sign for the state's development".
Private bus owners' bodies had yesterday said that they would not join the strike. PTI