Hundreds of commuters were a harried lot on Thursday after diesel auto-rickshaw drivers from SAS Nagar went on a strike to protest UT administration’s decision banning their entry in Chandigarh from November 1.
With the protesters forcibly stopping Chandigarh transport union (CTU) buses and auto-rickshaws from ent-ering SAS Nagar, commuters were left stranded, even as the police watched as mute spectators.
The auto operators started the protest at the Phase 8 grounds, and later stationed themselves at various entry points of the town to stop buses and autos coming from Chandigarh.
Speaking to HT, Nirmala Devi, a resident of 3B2, SAS Nagar, said, “I went to the Sector-16 government hospital to visit my daughter-in-law. To return, I hired an auto from outside the hospital. But when it reached SAS Nagar, we were stopped by protesters, forcing me to look for an alternative conveyance.”
Aninder Singh, a resident of Phase 7, said, “The auto drivers are neither plying themselves, nor allowing commercial vehicles to enter from Chandigarh, so where should the common man go? The administration and police should be prepared to tackle such situations.”
Diesel Auto Association president Joginder Singh said they had already requested the administration to lift the ban.
The State Transport Authority (STA) of Chandigarh had decided to strengthen its enforcement wing to curb entry of illegal diesel autos in the city from November 1.
There are around 500 diesel autos registered with the STA. However, in the past few years, the number of diesel autos has grown manifold. Around 10,000 diesel autos, most of these bearing registration numbers of Haryana and Punjab, enter the city daily.
For enforcing the ban, the STA has hired more motor vehicle inspectors (MVIs),which were earlier just two in number.
They will be deployed at the entry points of the city from Haryana and Punjab to check entry of diesel autos.
Auto owners from P’kula join protest
Panchkula: Hundreds of auto-rickshaw drivers also observed a strike, leaving commuters at the receiving end on Thursday.
On the call of the Auto-rickshaw Welfare Association, the protesters gathered at the Sector-5 ground.
Association president Baljeet Singh said the UT decision to not allow diesel auto-ric shaws from Panchkula to ply in Chandigarh would leave hundreds jobless. He said they would meet Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar over the issue.
Meanwhile, they said that if Panchkula administration also endorsed Chandigarh’s stand of not allowing diesel autos, they would not allow even buses to ply in Panchkula.