The West Bengal government on Monday turned down a demand for increasing fares of taxis, triggering protests from cab owners who threatened to call for an indefinite strike in the city.

Bengal Taxi Association President Bimal Guha said Transport Minister Ranjit Kundu turned down the demand for an increase in fares, forcing them to consider an indefinite taxi strike in the city shortly.

“The BTA, Calcutta Taxi Association and Progressive Taximen’s Union will have a joint meeting later in the day to fix the date to start an indefinite strike,” Mr. Guha said after talks with Mr. Kundu failed.

The Minister was not available for comment.

He said a hike of Rs two at all stages was demanded as diesel price had increased by Rs 2.66 per litre in the State along with rise in price of petrol.

The BTA also suggested allowing installation of an alarm system in cabs to alert the police in case of hijack. The Minister has asked them to submit a plan to the government for consideration, Mr. Guha said.

There are about 35,000 cabs in the metropolis alone.