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Mumbai's taxis, autos strike postponed for 10 days

By Prasanna D Zore
Last updated on: July 25, 2016 20:15 IST
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Following an assurance from the state government that their grievances would be looked into, the strike -- which was to begin on Tuesday -- has been pushed back, reports Prasanna D Zore. 

IMAGE: Taxi, auto drivers complain that services like Ola and Uber are usurping their livelihoods. Photograph: PTI

Mumbaikars can heave a sigh of relief after it was announced that the taxi, auto strike, which was scheduled to begin from Tuesday, has been suspended for the next 10 days.

Balasaheb Sanap, who runs Jay Bhagwan Mahasangh Taxi Rickshaw Kamgar Maha Sanghatna, had called for an indefinite strike beginning July 26 to protest against cab aggregators like Ola and Uber.

On Monday, Sanap had met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis following which a decision was made that the strike would be suspended for the next 10 days on the condition that if the CM was unable to resolve their issue till then, they would go ahead with their strike.

“However, if our demands are not met within a week’s time, we will go off the roads. The CM asked for a week but we are giving him a 10-day window to resolve all our issues.”

Sanap said he has the support of 90 per cent taxi and auto drivers that ply their vehicles across the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority and he was organising the indefinite strike to protest against radio taxi operators like Uber and Ola usurping the livelihoods of black-and-yellow auto and taxi and drivers.

According to him, radio taxi operators like Uber and Ola, who run on tourist permits are ruining the livelihoods of drivers of metred autos and taxis that ferry passengers across the city.
 
Sanap’s union had given a written petition that was submitted two weeks ago to state Transport Minister Diwakar Raote but that failed to elicit any response from the state government, apart from the meeting with Maharashtra CM on Monday, which too proved inconclusive on Monday afternoon.

Sanap’s union’s main demand is that Ola and Uber should not be allowed to ply within the city limits as the state government rules forbid those who hold tourist permits to ply within the city limits.

The other charter of demand coming from Sanap’s union is that Uber and Ola too should charge passengers based on the metres used by black-and-yellow autos and taxis in the MMRDA region.

A L Quadros, the president of Mumbai Taximen Union, said that 23,000 taxis under his union’s umbrella will be plying on Tuesday and they are not supporting the strike called by Sanap’s union.

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Prasanna D Zore / Rediff.com
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