Transport association ends indefinite strike after negotiation with government.

Assam on Friday became the first State in the northeast to allow all types of passenger vehicles to operate with 100% occupancy, almost eight months after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic-induced restrictions kicked in.

This followed a negotiation with the State government to end an indefinite strike the All Assam Motor Transport Association (AAMTA) had called from October 5.

“We had on Thursday met the Transport Minister and Departmental officials with our demand to either increase fares if made to carry 50% passengers because of the pandemic, or let us operate with 100% passengers. The government agreed that the lives of thousands of people associated with passenger services were at stake and operating vehicles at old rates with half the passengers was not viable,” AAMTA secretary Pradip Das said.

“We received a notification at 5.30 p.m. on Thursday, allowing us to carry passengers to the maximum capacity. Some night bus services resumed operation thereafter and all other categories of vehicles from today [Friday] morning,” he added.

The AAMTA also conveyed to the government that it was not the duty of vehicle operators to make passengers wear masks.

“We can provide hand sanitisers but it is up to the passenger to take precautions, and the police and Transport authorities can always penalise them for not following safety protocols,” Mr. Das said.

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