After the meeting of Regional Transport Authority (RTA) with oil companies,CNG pump owners,autorickshaw drivers and owners on Friday,autorickshaw unions in the city may decide to drop their decision of going on strike from August 15. Last week some autorickshaw unions had announced that if CNG situation does not improve by August 15,they will go on strike.
Rickshaw unions on Friday supported the decision to set up an advanced octroi payment system. Also,a single window system for granting permissions to set up CNG pumps is being seen as a positive step towards solving CNG-related problems in the city.
Nitin Pawar,convenor,Rickshaw Panchayat,Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad,said,We got a positive response at todays meeting. There is a chance that our problems will be solved to some extent. In such a case,we dont want to go on strike and create problem for commuters.
Baba Adhav,president,Rickshaw Panchayat,Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad,said their union will hold a meeting on Saturday and take a decision on strike. We have been assured by the district collector that problems such as pumps not open for 24 hours,inadequate supply of CNG and only five CNG pumps in the city while Mumbai having a CNG filling station at every pump,will be addressed soon. We might reconsider our decision of going on strike.
Nana Kshirsagar,Maharashtra Rickshaw Sena,president,said,We have been assured by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar that eight more CNG pumps will be set up in the city soon. We will meet him tomorrow and submit a petition of our demands. So far,we have not taken any decision on strike.
As per the Bhurelal committees recommendation,we (RTA) had decided to make CNG compulsory for old autorickshaws in 2008. But since there is shortage of CNG,we have suggested to lift this compusion till the time CNG supply is adequate, said Baba Shinde,former RTA member and president of Maharashtra State Goods and Passengers Transport Association.
Auto driver Aziz Rehman who has been running his rickshaw on CNG for the past two years,said,We have been losing out on business as we end up standing in queues for close to seven hours everyday to get CNG. I did not know that situation will be so bad when I switched from petrol to CNG. Over the past two years,I have incurred huge loses. It is a huge relief to learn that the administration has intervened to help us.