Bus strike ends in MP

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Bhopal, July 1 (UNI) An indefinite strike by Madhya Pradesh's bus operators, in support of a 50 per cent fare hike and other demands, ended on its third day today after parleys with the state government.

''The decision to end the strike was taken after a meeting with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Transport Minister Himmat Kothari,'' Madhya Pradesh Anubandhit Bus Owners' Association President Shyamsundar Sharma told UNI over telephone.

Claiming that the government accepted six principal demands, he added that a decision was to be taken on them by July 31 failing which the operators would be forced to go on another indefinite strike.

Official sources said that the government assured that a transport authority would be set up in a month.

The demands included ending of three-tier taxation, formation of a fare board, issuance of permanent permits to contract buses, reducing royalty on contract buses to 50 paise per kilometre and lowering value added tax on diesel to 8 per cent.

As a result of the strike, the city bus service's 3,000 vehicles, 11,000 private buses, the State Road Transport Corporation's 1,700 buses on contract and 500 taxis stopped plying.

''Fares have not been hiked since December 2004,'' claimed Mr Sharma.

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