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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

1,200 Meru cabs stay off city roads

None  Mumbai, January 26, 2013
First Published: 02:15 IST(26/1/2013) | Last Updated: 02:17 IST(26/1/2013)

More than 1,200 Meru cabs, the largest fleet taxi operators in the city, went off roads on Friday morning, after the Shiv Sena-affiliated Meru Cabs Chalak Sena (MCCS) called for an indefinite strike over various demands.

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Although the strike inconvenienced some passengers, it proved to be boon for other taxi services.

On Friday morning, the Meru management had let some of its cabs ply, but was soon forced to stop operations.

"A total of 14 cases cabs being damaged and drivers being assaulted were reported in various parts of the city, so a majority of drivers stayed off the roads out of fear," said Siddhartha Pahwa, chief executive officer of Meru.

Meru passengers were forced to take other cabs. "We had called the Meru call centre for a taxi to go Navi Mumbai, but were told that their taxis were not running. After trying other cab companies, we finally we took a black and yellow cab," said Vipul Shah, a shopkeeper.

However, the Meru management has termed the strike illegal and also alleged that it has been called to benefit competitors.

"If such strikes and arm-twisting tactics by political parties continue, Meru will be forced to shut operations in Mumbai" said Pahwa.

The MCCS has claimed that all 1,200 Meru drivers participated in the strike. The union had declared it would go on indefinite strike after a second round of talks with the Meru management failed on Thursday night.

"The management was adamant and not ready to accept any of the demands," said Vinod Matakar, general secretary of MCCS. The union had also alleged that drivers are losing their daily earnings as Meru is diverting its customers to its "illegal" tourist taxi services Meru plus.


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