Auto-rickshaws stayed off the roads in Noida on Monday,leaving commuters stranded,as the Gautam Buddh Nagar Auto Union began its two-day strike. The union has called the strike,demanding an increase in fares as well as permission to ply in areas where they are not allowed to go at present.
Om Prakash Gujjar,president of the district auto-rickshaw union,said,We have a list of 12 demands,including an increase in fares. The minimum fare per km should be fixed at Rs 10. Also,under a Transport department rule,auto-rickshaws in Noida are only allowed to ply in a 16-km radius. This rule must be relaxed so that auto-rickshaws can ply in Noida Extension and other populated areas.
Gujjar said the harassment auto-rickshaw drivers face at the hands of the traffic police and other government departments must also be stopped.
Nearly 1,000 permits have been cancelled in the last few months,and these must be revoked. Drivers,who do not earn much,often have to bribe policemen. This must be stopped, Gujjar said.
Union members said the strike would continue on Tuesday and that they would protest outside the Noida RTO on Wednesday.
An official in the Transport department said,We are considering their proposals and will come out with a plan soon. We are in negotiation with the leaders of the union and request them to call off the strike so that people are not inconvenienced. We are already working on a fare hike plan for the auto-rickshaws.
The strike severely inconvenienced commuters on Monday.
I found no means of transport to reach my office,which is less than three km away,from the Botanical Gardens Metro station. Buses were overcrowded and the auto-rickshaws on the roads were charging exorbitantly, said Shaheen Biswas,a call centre executive.