Continuing their strike for the fourth day, members of the Tricity Auto Rickshaw Joint Action Committee protested against the UT Administration for its decision of rolling back diesel-run autorickshaws in the city.
In Chandigarh, around a thousand protesters gathered at the Sector 25 rally ground and raised anti-establishment slogans. However, no reports of arrests or damage were reported.
“We have refuted all the decisions taken by the Administration and have presented a counter-offer instead, which promises that autos would not ply beyond their life span of 15 years. Further, the Tricity permit should be provided. Additionally, we are willing to switch over to CNG as a fuel mode instead of LPG which has many flaws,” said Kamal Kant Dwivedi, Chairman of the committee.
“Why are the CTU buses not being asked to switch to a cleaner mode of fuel as well?” added Dwivedi.
The State Transports Authority officials challaned 93 autorickshaws and impounded 13 on Sunday for violating various norms under the Motor Vehicles Act which also included autorickshaws plying with odd-numbered registration plates.
Agitating auto drivers in Panchkula stopped few CTU buses near the underpass in Mansa Devi Complex. The harassed passengers had to walk till the Manimajra bus stand.
The agitators also said they would not let any CTU buses go through that route. The police reached the spot and brought the situation under control.
“I paid the fare of the bus and was left with no money to buy another ticket or use any other mode of public transport. I don’t how I will return home,” said Nalini Pahwa, a passenger.
In Mohali, CTU had decided to ply limited buses on Sunday as a precautionary measure following Saturday’s violence where a bus was vandalised and a bus driver and conductor were thrashed by the protesters. Protesters were also seen stopping autorickshaws ferrying passengers.
“We have offered a reasonable deal to the diesel-run autorickshaws. The RSPM (Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter) level in the city is on the higher side and thus, such a decision was taken. Also, we have allowed the plying of 6,000 autorickshaws after April 2010 under Bharat Stage 3. There are subsidies and bank loans which are being provided. As many as 1,000 applicants have shown their willingness to switch to LPG . There has been no prejudice. The only reason why CTU buses are not asked to change is because buses can’t use LPG due to its weak energy output.”