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Commuters bear brunt of Delhi autorickshaw strike

Press Trust of India New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on May 20, 2011

More than half of the over 55,000 autorickshaws went off the roads today, causing severe inconvenience to commuters across the city as unions went on indefinite strike against the Delhi Government's decision to make installation of GPS system mandatory in their vehicles.

As commuters faced harrowing a time, the Delhi Transport Minister, Mr Arvinder Singh Lovely, warned the autorickshaw owners of strong punitive action, including cancellation of permits, if the strike was not called off.

“We will take strong punitive action against autorickshaw owners if they do not resume their service,” Mr Lovely said.

The strike mostly affected office-goers as people had to wait for buses or look for other modes of transport to reach their destinations.

“I really struggled to find an auto. Though many autos were there at the auto stand, no one was willing to ply,” said Mr Prakash Singh, a sales executive from Laxmi Nagar who works in a private company in Connaught Place.

At a meeting with auto unions yesterday, Mr Lovely had decided to introduce a scheme under which an autorickshaw owner will have to shell out Rs 625 as monthly instalment for one year as cost of the GPS system. After the meeting, the Minister had claimed that the unions agreed to install GPS system and call off the strike.

But all major unions, including Rastravadi Tapaya Salak Sangh, Pragatisil Auto Association, Delhi Auto Drivers' Association and Janasakti Tipaya Salak Sangh, went ahead with the strike from 11 pm last night.

“I had to wait for almost 45 minutes to board a bus as most of the buses were overcrowded. The strike has really affected the public transport system,” said Mr Rohan Aggarwal, a resident of Bhogal area in South Delhi.

Asserting that government would not reverse its order for installation of GPS systems on autorickshaws, Mr Lovely said there was “very little” impact of the strike and insisted that government was committed to rein in errant auto drivers.

“There was very little impact of the strike. In fact there was no visible strike,” he said.

Contrary to Mr Lovely's claim, the auto unions termed the strike as a total success, saying “90 per cent of the autoricksahws did not ply.”

“We will continue our indefinite strike until the government agrees to our demands. We will not accept the government diktat,” said Mr Virendra Pal of Rastravadi Tapaya Salak Sangh.

In an effort to rein in the auto drivers following complaints of overcharging, the city government had issued an order earlier this year asking all autorickshaw owners to install GPS in their vehicles so as to ensure that they run on metres and do not overcharge.

Officials in the Transport department said the process for installation of GPS systems will begin on June 1 and no fitness certificate will be issued to the autorickshaws that do not have the equipment.

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Published on May 20, 2011
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