With the autorickshaw owners and drivers’ unions of Maharashtra calling a strike on Wednesday to protest against the state government’s decision to “scrap the Hakim Committee” report on the revision of auto and taxi fares and against the illegally plying private taxis in the state, Mumbaikars living in the suburbs are likely to bear the brunt.
The Committee had suggested a fare hike based on various parametres like cost of living, cost of fuel etc.
A strike by the Swabhiman Taxi and Rickshaw Union had left people stranded on Monday with other unions alleging that their taxis were damaged as they continued to ply despite the strike. “I am dreading the strike on Wednesday. The autos anyway tend to refuse commuters during the rains and these frequent strikes tend to bring life to a standstill,” said Aditi Tandon, a resident of Bandra who works in Kurla.
The autorickshaw owners and drivers’ unions said that they would try to meet Transport Minister Sonia Sethi to submit a list of their demands to her.
“The government should have had a dialogue with the unions before taking a decision to overlook the Hakim committee report. They should not play with the lives of 15 lakh autorickshaw owners and drivers. The Hakim committee was set up after the High Court’s consent and had taken various aspects into consideration before submitting its report,” said Shashank Rao, a union leader for autorickshaws and taxis.
Thambi Kurien from the Mumbai Rickshaw men auto union,however, said that they would not be participating in the strike. “We are not supporting the strike. Our autos, which operate throughout Mumbai, will continue to ply along with those under the Shiv Sena Union,” he said. Anthony Quadros from the Mumbai taximen union said that they were expecting a greater demand for taxis on Wednesday.”We will ply more taxis around railway stations in suburban areas,” he said.