Autorickshaw strike to affect Capital today

Autorickshaw strike to affect Capital today

A majority of the 55,000 autorickshaws plying in Delhi will remain off the road on Tuesday in response to a strike call given by non-Congress unions in protest against the order for the installation of GPS in the vehicles. The Delhi government has offered the devices at subsidised price.

The device costs around Rs 13,000 to get it installed (which is mandatory as per court orders) in the autorickshaw. Transport Minister Arvinder Singh is said to have promised the unions to provide the GPS for Rs 7,000.

The minister has instructed Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) to make backup arr­angements to clear the extra rush expected on Tuesday.

“All depot managers and regional managers have been directed to ensure the maximum out-shedding of buses so that passenger could reach their destination easily. DTC will deploy extra buses across the city from railway stations, interstate bus terminals, airport and hospitals,” said Goswami.

 The unions are also demanding a hike in fares and constitution of a welfare board for the drivers.

“We start our strike on Monday night as our talks with Transport Minister Ramakant Goswami have failed. The minister does not want to give any commitment to any of our demands. Earlier, the government promised to provide us GPS at Rs 7,000 but it is now costing us around Rs 13,000. Neither can we afford it nor is the minister ready to allow an increase in fares. He only said that he will look into our demands,” said Rajendra Soni, president of Bhartiya Private Transport Mazdoor Mahasangh, on Monday.

The minister said some auto unions were adamant on the strike despite an assurance given to them that their demands would be considered.

A decision would be taken in 15 days.

“About 200 autos have already got GPS fitted and I don’t understand why others can’t get it done. They are still getting GPS at less than Rs 7,000. The GPS itself costs around Rs 6,000 only but the cost of meter, printer, VAT and excise duty adds up to Rs 13,500. It has to be compulsorily fitted and nothing can be done by us,” said Goswami.

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