In what may come as an embarrassment for the state government with its Make in Maharashtra event lined up at BKC on Monday, auto drivers have planned to go on a strike to protest against cab aggregators and illegal buses in the city as well as raised fares for issuing auto permits. The strike will likely impact suburban Mumbai.
Mumbai Autorickshawmen Union’s Shashank Rao said that they were going for a “complete strike on Monday” after protests, including the one on January 19, had fallen on deaf ears. “The cab aggregators and illegal busses are affecting our business. The government has also raised the cost of permits to Rs 15,000. Even renewal of permits has become so expensive. Since our protests have fallen on deaf ears, we will go on a strike.”
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Acknowledging the strike might cause embarrassment to the administration, Rao said, “The administration is responsible. It is not like we are waking up at the last moment and making demands. These demands have been on for the past several months. However, no action has been taken by the state.” He added that if the state did not act now, several protests would take place.
Nitesh Rane, who heads the Swabhimaan Auto Union, said that they would not ask auto drivers to go off the roads aggressively, but would back the protest as the issue impacted all auto drivers.
K K Tiwari, head of the Swabhimaan Sanghatana Union, said that they supported the strike as the issues had been originally raised by them.
Meanwhile, the state transport department said that they would give permissions to private cars and busses to ply on Monday, invoking provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act 1977.