Autorickshaw drivers defer strike

first_imgThe State-wide autorickshaw strike scheduled to start on Tuesday was taken back at the last moment after the Chief Minister on Monday invited leaders of various auto unions to discuss their issues. The meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, will also be attended by the transport minister and officials from various departments. There are over nine lakh autorickshaw drivers in the State, of whom 2.2 lakh are in Mumbai. Shashank Rao, president of Autorickshaw Chalak Malak Sanghatana Sanyuckta Kruti Samiti (ACMSSKS), a steering committee of unions across the State, said they had sent their demands to the government several times. “The government is not at all interested in solving our issues. The strike is a result of their complete apathy towards our demands,” he said. According to an union official, a fare hike was the need of the hour as the last one had been implemented nearly three years ago. Moreover, CNG prices have been steadily rising over the last year, with the last price hike on July 1. Union officials said they want the government to implement the recommendations of the Hakeem committee report but the State has not even acted upon the recommendations of the Khatua committee, which also recommended increase in the fare of rickshaws and taxis. The ACMSSKS is also demanding a ban on cab aggregators such as Ola and Uber, and has asked the State government to form district-level flying squads to crack down on illegal autorickshaws on the road.One of the demands includes a freeze on the number of autorickshaw permits, owing to the explosion in numbers. “Illegal autorickshaws eat into the business of those who have the requisite permits and permissions. In Mumbai there are at least 30,000 illegal autorickshaws running,” said an union official.A spokesperson from the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport undertaking said they plan to increase the number of buses on the roads, especially on routes with shared rickshaw services, to reduce the impact on commuters.last_img

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