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Harrowing time for Delhi commuters as auto, taxi unions go on 2-day strike

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
April 18, 2022 17:46 IST
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Commuters had a harrowing time as various auto-rickshaw, cab and taxi unions in the capital went on a two-day strike on Monday to demand a CNG subsidy and fare revision in the wake of rising fuel prices.

IMAGE: Autos being parked during a two-day strike by auto and taxi unions demanding fuel subsidy and fare revision, in New Delhi, April 18, 2022. Photograph: Kamal Kishore/PTI Photo

Passengers complained that they had to wait a long time for Ola and Uber cabs, and added that those were available at inflated rates.

 

The impact of the strike called by various auto-rickshaw, cab and taxi unions in the capital was visible as autos, cabs, feeder buses were hardly available at transport hubs like railway stations, inter state bus terminals, and metro stations across the city.

People who were most affected by the strike were those who arrived in Delhi from other states through rail, bus or other modes.

Vinay Prajapati, who arrived in the city on Monday morning with his family and was unaware of the strike, had to call his friend to drop him home.

"I along with my family reached New Delhi from Raipur today (Monday) morning. There were no cabs and autos were unavailable at the New Delhi Railway Station due to the strike. I waited for an hour to get a cab or an auto but in vain. I finally had to call up my friend to go home in Ghaziabad," Prajapati told PTI.

There were many like Prajapati who faced hardships in getting transport to their destinations in Delhi-NCR due to the strike as it led to a shortage of cabs and autos.

Preeti Dahiya, another commuter, said she had been waiting for an auto near Patel Chowk metro station for around 20 minutes but in vain.

"I have been standing here for around 15-20 minutes and I had to go to Geeta Colony. I tried booking a cab but the waiting was above 25 minutes along with surge pricing. I spotted a few autos but no one agreed to go due to the strike," Dahiya said.

She added that auto drivers were ready to go to destinations located at shorter distances of 2-3 kilometres but refused to take passengers for long distance trips.

Another commuter, Diljeet Singh, said, "Everyday I take a cab to my office near Central Secretariat and it charges me around Rs 400 on one way trip. But today due to the strike less cabs were available and fares have shot up much. I had to pay over Rs 650 to reach my office from Noida."

There are over 90,000 autos and more than 80,000 registered taxis complementing the public transport system in the city.

People also took to social media to report about cab and auto drivers strike and problems caused to the public.

"A very difficult day to reach office by public transport in Delhi. As today auto and cab union strikes. Delhi government should understand the problem of middle class," Vaibhav Mishra said on Twitter.

Auto and cab drivers' unions have been demanding a hike in fares and slashing of CNG prices to offset the impact of rising fuel prices.

They refused to call their strike off despite an announcement by the Delhi government to form a committee to consider a fare revision in a time-bound manner.

"Our strike has started and it will continue throughout the day. CNG has become costlier and we cannot keep running our business on losses. We should either be provided a subsidy of Rs 35 per kg on CNG or fares should be hiked," Delhi Auto Rickshaw Sangh general secretary Rajendra Soni told PTI.

The auto, taxi and cab drivers also sat on a dharna near Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence at Civil Lines later in the day to press their demands.

Small protests were also witnessed at number of places, including Kashmere Gate ISBT, Rani Bagh, Civil Lines, New Delhi Railway Station auto stand.

While some unions said they will be on a one-day strike, the Sarvodaya Driver Association Delhi, which has members who drive for cab aggregators, said it will be a two-day strike and may turn into an "indefinite" strike.

"We are giving two day's ultimatum to the governments (Centre and state) to consider our demands else our symbolic strike will turn into an indefinite strike. We don't want to do this but we have no other option left," Ravi Rathore of Sarvodaya Driver Association Delhi, said.

There were reports claiming that cabs entering Delhi from Noida and Ghaziabad were being stopped at border points and were being asked not to ply adding to the woes of the commuters.

However, cab and auto driver associations said they were not stopping the cabs and merely informing fellow drivers about the strike.

"The strike was planned on a short notice so many of cab and auto drivers from NCR town were not aware of it. Hence, they were told about the strike at Delhi borders and were requested to participate in it after completing their trips," Rathore said.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2022 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
 
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