On Saturday, 1 August, the police and transport officials in Kolkata began seizing public vehicles aged 15 years and older. The move came in the face of a decision by the Kolkata High Court mandating the same. Commuters were heavily impacted as auto rickshaws called for a strike on Saturday and, according to the Joint Council of Bus Syndicate, fewer than 20% of buses operated in Kolkata. While the government promised to provide more buses to ease the inconvenience, these have not been sufficient, with people having to seek alternative means of transport – including ferries.
On Monday, more than 73,000 autos, buses and taxis have remained off the roads, including 500 school buses, reportedly affecting about 45,000 children.
With the death of West Bengal transport, sports and youth affairs minister, Subhas Chakraborty, on Monday, processions by fans and supporters have only further choked traffic flow.
To get an on the ground perspective about the situation on the roads, as well as what we can expect over the coming days, we talk to Mint correspondent Rajdeep Dutta Ray – speaking from a traffic jam in West Bengal’s capital.