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Auto wars: Impasse continues

With the autorickshaw strike continuing on the fourth day,commuters were once again subjected to great hassle and inconvenience,which is likely to persist in the coming days as well.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh |
April 17, 2009 12:58:37 am

* LPG autos attacked
* STA,UT Police assure protection
* Auto union denies rumours of split

 

With the autorickshaw strike continuing on the fourth day,commuters were once again subjected to great hassle and inconvenience,which is likely to persist in the coming days as well.

On Thursday,there were a few instances where LPG-run autorickshaws were targeted by the protesting auto drivers. The matter,however,was resolved after the State Transport Authority and Chandigarh Police assured them of protection.

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Refusing to budge,the agitating auto drivers have declared that the Administration would be held responsible for any violence. 

As the deadlock between the autorickshaw drivers and Administration continues,parents of schoolchildren remain the worst hit. Though some drivers resumed work and ferried students to schools,several parents had to depend on local buses or cycle rickshaws. Also,with government schools reopening from Friday and the end of strike nowhere in sight,no relief seems to be coming the way of students and parents. 

Rubbishing rumours of the strike being called off,chairman of the Autorickshaw Joint Action Committee Kamala Kant declared that the strike is on and would continue.

“The strike will carry on till our demands are not met by the Chandigarh Administration. The autorickshaw drivers will be protesting peacefully but if there is any incidence of violence,then the government will be entirely responsible for it. The vehicles will carry patients to medical institutes like PGI and GMCH-32 but not other passengers including students,” said Kant.

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The decisions were taken after a meeting was held among the members of the committee at Sector 43. As a mark of protest,the auto drivers would not be carrying out any rallies or stage dharnas but keep their vehicles parked in the respective stands. 

Meanwhile,around 100 drivers of LPG autorickshaws from the city gathered at the State Transport Authority office in Sector 18 around 11 in the morning and submitted a representation to STA Secretary Vandana Disodia demanding protection in the wake of attacks by a few auto drivers from the tricity.

A few LPG-run autos were allegedly stopped by the protesting drivers near the Tribune Chowk in the morning and attacked. The tyres of their vehicles were also reportedly deflated.  

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“Following discussions with Senior Suprintendent of Police S S Srivastava,the drivers were assured protection. Extra patrolling teams would be deployed in the city for the purpose. The police will reach the spot within five minutes of receiving a call,incase of violence,” said Vandana Disodia.

Though the respective city unions and even the Joint Action Committee has declined reports of any split among themselves,a few auto rickshaws were seen plying on the city roads today. “The rumours about the split are incorrect. The autorickshaws spotted in the city are those carrying patients or the ones not ferrying any passenger. The strike in the tricity continues,” added Kamala Kant.

Only a handful of autorickshaws were seen plying on the roads,which meant relief for a few parents. “I was happy to see the autodrivers resume work from today. I have already taken two days’ leave to pick and drop my daughter. I hope the autos resume their routine,” said Anita Verma,a resident of Panchkula.

The problem is more profound in cases where working parents in Panchkula have to shuttle between the cities to drop and pick their children studying in Chandigarh.  

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First published on: 17-04-2009 at 12:58:37 am

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