Auto, taxi strike to stay

Auto, taxi strike to stay

Commuters in the national capital faced a harrowing time on Wednesday as autorickshaws and taxis kept away from the city’s roads for the second consecutive day.The Joint Action Committee formed (JAC) by 20 auto and taxi unions is on an indefinite strike since Tuesday against the operations of app-based taxi services in the city.

The auto and taxi unions said the strike will continue till their demands are met.
Transport Minister Satyendar Jain called a meeting of taxi unions on Wednesday afternoon and claimed that 17 unions have called off the strike.

However, Rajender Soni, General Secretary of the Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh and Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union, said that the “government is lying” and the strike will continue till their demands are met.

“We demand that Uber and Ola, which are illegally running, should be banned. They don’t have permits to run in Delhi,” said Soni.

Around 15 members of the  JAC also sat on a hunger strike outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence.

The commuters were inconvenienced for the second day, with fewer autos plying on the roads when compared to the first day. “Even on Ola app there were no autos available. Even the cabs were not available for a long time. I got to book a cab after trying for an hour,” said Aarushi Thapliyal. 

Commuters claimed that the cabs were running on surge pricing and charged double the rate for the routes they take daily.

Another commuter said, “It was a harrowing experience. I waited near my house for
nearly 25 minutes because none of the autos were willing to go till the Metro station. I got an auto after 25 minutes.  But it did not take me to my regular Metro station, instead it dropped me off at another station for a higher fare.”

The auto drivers said they feared plying on some routes as the workers of the unions on strike were not allowing them to ply and were damaging their vehicles.

Jain on Tuesday claimed the strike was ‘politically motivated’ and said that banning the operation of app-based cab services does not come under its ambit.

“This is a BJP-sponsored strike. You cannot mix hooliganism and strike. The auto drivers do not want to strike,” he had said, talking to reporters.  Soni, however, said that regulating these cab services and asking them to run on government-prescribed rates is under the purview of the Delhi government.

“But the government won’t do that. It is against the labour class and its livelihood,” he said.

Rainfall on Wednesday made matters worse for some of the commuters.

“I had to pick up my mother from the Nizamuddin Railway Station, but could not find any autos near my house at Mayur Vihar Phase 1 for 20 minutes. I got drenched in the rain and finally decided to book a cab, which charged double its regular fare,” said Uzmi, another commuter.

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