Autorickshaw unions end strike on third day

Autorickshaw unions end strike on third day

Autorickshaw unions end strike on third day

Autorickshaw unions called off the strike on the third day after the Delhi government agreed to form a policy to regulate app-based cabs in the city.

The Delhi government said the autorickshaws and taxis registered in neighbouring states will be penalised for ferrying passengers in the capital. Taxis bringing commuters to Delhi from National Capital Region (NCR) will not be allowed to take passengers back to NCR, the government told the protesting unions.

Earlier in the day, commuters had a tough time reaching their destinations on Thursday. However, some autorickshaws were seen plying on the city roads.

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising 20 auto and taxi unions went on an indefinite strike on Tuesday against the operations of app-based cabs in the city.

The striking unions met Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday. “The minister said it is a state government matter. The state government has the authority to regulate the app-based taxis. So we are in talks with the Delhi transport minister to regulate the taxis and cabs,” said Rajender Soni, General Secretary of Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh and Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union, hours before the strike was called off. Soni was sitting on hunger strike outside the house of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at Civil Lines.

Passengers complained that autorickshaw drivers were overcharging to take them to nearby places. “First, most of the autorickshaw drivers refused to ply. The ones who did agree were charging more than double for even taking us to the nearby metro station,” said Rupali Mehta, a private firm employee.

Commuters at the New Delhi Railway Station said the cab drivers refused to shuttle passengers fearing damage to their vehicles. “When I called up an app-based cab, the driver refused to come at the entrance of the New Delhi Railway Station because of the ongoing strike. He asked me to come out at the main road if I wanted to hire his cab,” said Akansha Jain, who had come to visit her aunt in Delhi.

Transport Minister Satyendar Jain had called a meeting of taxi unions on Wednesday afternoon and claimed that 17 unions called off the strike. But the unions affiliated to the Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh and Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union decided to continue the strike until their demands were met.

The striking unions were demanding that Uber and Ola taxis should be banned as they do not have permits to run in Delhi, said Soni.

Jain on Tuesday called the strike “politically motivated” and said that banning the operation of app-based cab services does not come under the Transport Ministry’s ambit.