Tough time for commuters today

Tough time for commuters today

Commuters will have a tough time on Tuesday as city’s autorickshaw and taxi drivers have decided to join the day-long all-India strike called by the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, which has the backing of all major trade unions.

Making matters worse, bus services in the city are also likely to be hit badly as several DTC drivers and conductors are joining the strike.

“The effect of the strike will be near total. The government has failed to meet our key demands despite repeated promises,” said Rajendra Soni, president of Bharatiya Private Transport Mazdoor Mahasangh.

The key demands of auto and taxi drivers include constitution of a welfare board for helping families of drivers who die in road accidents, relocation of pre-paid booths at three major railway stations in the capital, provision of sheds for drivers near pre-paid booths at railway stations, issuing permits for 45,000 new autorickshaws at the earliest as directed by the Supreme Court and rationalisation of fare rates.

“The price of CNG has been increased five times in the last one year. Moreover, the rate of all essential items have increased due to spiralling inflation. Fares must be revised at the earliest,” said M S Mansoori, leader of an auto union affiliated to All India Trade Union Congress.

Those reaching the city by air, rail and bus are in for a difficult time with union leaders claiming that a majority of the 1.2 lakh auto and taxi drivers are expected to join the strike. Around 55,000 autorickshaws and 15,000 taxis ply on Delhi roads daily. However, there is some relief as the Delhi Metro and Radio taxis will function as usual on Tuesday.

Airport officials said auto and taxi unions have not informed them of any strike plan. “A large fleet of radio taxis operate from both T3 and domestic airport. Even if autos and other taxis go on strike, radio taxis will be able to cater to the demand,” an official said.
Delhites should expect a lesser number of Delhi Transport Corporation buses on the roads. Trade union members said one of their main demands is regularisation of employees hired by the DTC on contract basis.

“Currently, around 15,000 employees in the DTC are working on contract. Our key demand is to regularise them. As a majority of these are employed as drivers and conductors, the strike is going to hit the bus services badly,” said Prem Singh Nagar, a leader of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh.

The leaders of rival trade unions like the Indian National Trade Union Congress have also confirmed that they are joining the strike. However, the DTC management said bus operations would be normal. “DTC buses would be on roads as usual. As far as regularisation of some employees is concerned the matter is under consideration before the Delhi government and the state cabinet is likely to decide on the matter soon,” said a spokesman.