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UT gives them 3 months but auto unions not happy

Even as commuters continued to bear the brunt of the ongoing strike by autorickshaw operators on Tuesday...

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh |
April 15, 2009 3:30:27 am

Row over colour of fuel : Autorickshaw operators say will continue strike,won’t ferry schoolchildren,not allow CTU buses to enter Mohali

Even as commuters continued to bear the brunt of the ongoing strike by autorickshaw operators on Tuesday,the situation is likely to worsen now with the unions announcing to not allow any public transport from Chandigarh to enter Mohali from Wednesday.

With schools and offices opening on Wednesday after holidays,there is likely to be a bigger impact of the strike. To make matters worse,the unions have also decided to not ferry schoolchildren from Wednesday.

The transport officials of Chandigarh,Haryana and Punjab,meanwhile,met and decided to extend the deadline by three months — till August 31,2009.

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“In view of the assurance from Punjab officials that no non-LPG vehicle will be allowed to enter Chandigarh after August 2009,the ongoing programme of impounding and issuing challans to autorickshaws from Punjab and Haryana has been deferred till further orders,” said Transport Secretary Ram Niwas.

The autorickshaw unions,however,refused to accept the proposal and declared to continue with their five-day-old strike for an indefinite period.

The protestors held rallies across the tricity,shouting slogans against the Administration.

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In Mohali,after keeping their autorickshaws off roads for the fifth consecutive day,the operators held a rally at the Dussehra Ground in Phase VIII and resolved to continue with their protest till the ban was lifted for ever. Mohali Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union president Joginder Pal Singh said: “We may also resort to traffic blockades and other means of protest to press for our demand.”

The union members were,however,found to be divided on the issue late in the evening. With some agreeing to abide by the deadline,the impact of the strike is expected to reduce.

The Panchkula association and the Joint Action Committee,however,said it would not resort to such means. “Until our demands are met,we will peacefully continue with our strike. We will hold a rally at the Circus Ground,Sector 17,Chandigarh,” said Kamala Kant,chairman of the Joint Action Committee.

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In the absence of autorickshaws,meanwhile,people had a tough time commuting. Some of them even had to walk down to their destinations.

Status report
What the Admn wants

* A switch from petrol and diesel to LPG for autorickshaws by August 31,2009
* Autos should get permits from respective state transport authorities
* Chandigarh operators should get these permits countersigned by respective states transport authorities and vice versa

Auto operators seek
* To not phase out autorickshaws running for less than 15 years
* To phase out diesel and petrol-run taxis and CTU buses too
* To reduce late penalty fee,registration fee and other charges
* To allow joint permit for Haryana,Punjab and Chandigarh

Steps taken by UT

* Increased frequency of CTU buses in the grid system – 22 buses added to the fleet. Frequency decreased from 25 to 20 minutes

* Agreement with Punjab to allow 500 LPG-run auto-rickshaws into Chandigarh and vice versa. Agreement with Haryana in the

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* Punjab and Haryana governments likely to set up LPG filling stations in Mohali and Panchkula. Chandigarh to have two more LPG stations

* Administration hopes to induct 17 mini-AC buses within two weeks. The buses will run on point-to-destination basis

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* 100 new low-floor buses likely in the grid system in 4 months

* Autorickshaw operators,who want to avail of finance facility,can approach the Delhi Financial Corporation that has signed an MoU with the UT and is ready to provide loan at lower rates for the purchase of LPG-run autorickshaws. No collateral security will be required. Interested parties can approach the State Transport Authority,Chandigarh,for further details

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Admn,police on alert
“The Chandigarh Administration will not allow any miscreant to take law into his hands and is ready to deal with any sort of situation,” said Ram Niwas. Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Jatinder Singh Aulakh has,meanwhile,asked the protesting autorickshaw operators to refrain from indulging in unlawful activities. “We will maintain law and order and not allow any bid to stop the movement of any vehicle in our territory,” he assured.

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First published on: 15-04-2009 at 03:30:27 am

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