The city’s auto and taxi unions Tuesday went on an indefinite strike against app-based cab services in the city, leaving hundreds of commuters in the lurch.
Twenty unions of autos and taxis have formed a joint action committee (JAC), which has called for an indefinite strike. The committee claimed nearly 80,000 autos and 15,000 yellow-black taxis have gone off the roads.
Calling the strike “politically-motivated”, Transport Minister Satyendar Jain said, “The BJP, through unions, is instigating autorickshaw and taxi strike in Delhi. I have received several calls from auto-rickshaw drivers who want to ply but are being forced to go on strike.”
Jain added that the government had pressed 300 buses into service at railway stations and ISBTs so that commuters are not inconvenienced. R S Minhas, deputy chief general manager of public relations, DTC, said, “We pressed extra buses into service and redirected many to the airport, ISBTs and railway stations.”
However, the strike affected people, specially at railway stations and hospitals. With rain lashing the capital Tuesday afternoon, harried patients at
AIIMS were seen taking the Metro or flagging down app-based cabs.
At the New Delhi railway station, black and yellow cab drivers allegedly roughed up and heckled drivers of Ola and Uber cabs who were there to pick up passengers. A passenger, Jaya Biswas, said it started to rain just as her train arrived at the station. “No auto-rickshaws were available. I had to take the Metro to get to my home in Dilshad Garden,” she said.
Kishan Verma, president of the All Delhi Auto-Taxi Transport Congress Union said, “Uber and Ola don’t have permits to ply their taxis in Delhi. Despite that, the government is allowing them to take away our livelihood.”
Rajendra Soni, general secretary of the Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh and Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union, said 11 members of the JAC will sit on a hunger strike outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence Wednesday.
Responding to the protesters’ demands, a government spokesperson said, “Banning the operation of app-based cab services does not come under our ambit. The operations of Ola and Uber are illegal in Delhi as they don’t have permits from the Delhi transport department to ply their taxis. We have already written to the Centre to block the server of Uber, but the Union government said it cannot do so as the main server is in the US.”