January 5, 2009

West Bengal governor deplores destruction of public property

Kolkata, Jan 3 : West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi Saturday deplored the destruction of public property and disruption of normal life by auto-rickshaw drivers protesting the implementation of the Calcutta High Court order phasing out air-polluting two-stroke auto-rickshaws.Describing the Calcutta High Court order as “an unavoidable step”, Gandhi said: “The auto-rickshaw owners are in need of advice and assistance to implement the change. But the protests following attempts of the government to implement the High Court order are taking a very undesirable shape”.

“I deplore the destruction of public property and the disruption of public life that we have witnessed in the last few hours. It does not enhance the interests of the auto-rickshaw owners or drivers,” he said in a statement here. The governor said the state government should take all possible steps to ensure a painless changeover for the affected owners of the auto-rickshaws.

He also appealed to opinion leaders to come forward with constructive suggestions to facilitate implementation of the order, “so that we can breathe cleaner air with auto-rickshaw owners being an integral and happy part of the process”. Four state transport buses were set ablaze and several others damaged by irate protesters over Friday and Saturday.

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