A section of private bus operators has decided to stay away from the nation-wide indefinite strike called by the All India Transport Congress and All India Coordination of Goods Carriage Association from April 1 in protest against the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority’s decision to hike insurance premium.

The decision was taken after the representatives of the All Kerala Bus Operators’ Forum, Kerala State Limited Stop Bus Operators Association, Kannur, Kerala Bus Operators Youth Federation, Thrissur, Motor Transport Associationm, Chalakudy, Kannur District Cherukida Bus Operators Association met here under the aegis of All Kerala Bus Operators’ Coordination Committee on Tuesday.

Announcing the decision at a press meet held here on Thursday, T.J. Raju, president, All Kerala Bus Operators Forum, said that the operators under the coordination committee will operate their services as usual. Bus owners could not afford to go on an indefinite strike at this juncture, he said.

V.J. Sebastian, president, Kerala State Limited Stop Bus Operators Association, reminded the bus owners that unlike them, lorry owners do not need to depend on government to effect a fare hike irrespective of the fate of the strike.

He pointed out that the KSRTC, which has to cough up over Rs. 20 crore for renewing insurance, was yet to react to the premium hike.

Mr. Sebastian said the premium hike was not as high as 105% as portrayed by the truck owners associations.

The committee felt that the strike was uncalled for at a time when the government is in the process of calling a meeting.