Kejriwal strikes a deal with auto drivers, no hike in fare

A day after CNG prices went up by Rs 4.50, Arvind Kejriwal met autorickshaw drivers’ representatives at his party office in Kaushambi, fearing a demand for hike in auto fare.

“The auto drivers had called for a strike on January 7 to protest against the rise in CNG prices,” said Rajendra Soni, representative of Delhi Pradesh Taxi and Auto Union. The CNG prices were last revised in September by Rs 3.70 per kg.

Two days before taking oath as the chief minister of Delhi, Kejriwal on Thursday was quick to tweet, “CNG rates hiked in Delhi, isn’t the time suspect?

“The auto drivers didn’t ask for a hike in auto fare,” said Sanjay Chawla, a coordinator of the auto cell in AAP.

“Their demand was to roll back the hike in CNG prices,” he added.

In the meeting attended by 16 representatives, AAP promised to accept their demands ranging from 1,000 new auto stands in the city to renewing cancelled drivers’ permits, no confiscation of autos by police and cheaper GPS device for autorickshaws.

“Kejriwal promised to take up the issue of hike in CNG prices with the Petroleum Ministry,” said Soni who came out reassured from the meeting. “Sheila Dixit never called a meeting in the last 15 years,” he added.

 Kejriwal assured that his government will abolish penal Section 66/192 (A) of the Motor Vehicles Act which gives power to the Delhi Traffic Police to confiscate vehicles. “Kejriwal ji said, ‘If anybody is paying the penalty that should be enough, what is the need of confiscation?’” said Chawla.

The chief minister-designate also assured to curb corruption in the state transport department. “One has to pay a bribe even to get an auto driver’s licence,” said Chawla.

He informed that Kejriwal is likely to hold a public meeting with auto drivers at the Ramlila Maidan on Monday. “Nearly 15,000-20,000 autorickshaw drivers are expected to attend the meeting,” he said.

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