It’s the price rise season and the auto rickshaw drivers don’t want to be left behind and have threatened to strike on April 1 if their demands aren’t met.
Last week, the Centre hiked CNG prices by 50 paise. Delhi government followed suit on Monday and levied VAT on it, effectively raising the fuel’s price from Rs 21.70 per litre to Rs 22.79 from April.
“In 2005, it cost Rs 13. Now it will cost almost Rs 23. We have been demanding a fare revision for a long time now but the government is not listening,” said Rajendra Soni of Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh. “Everything’s become costlier. Maintaining auto rickshaws is also costly. The government has also hiked the fines,” he said.
“DTC and Metro fares have gone up. Government employees earn more now thanks to the Pay Commission. Why can’t the fares of taxi and autorickshaws be raised?” he said.
The strike on April 1 was first called to protest Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit’s statement about replacing auto rickshaws with battery-operated vehicles. “Earlier, the strike was against her remark. Now it will also be on fare revision,” Soni said.
Sobhran Singh Rajput of the Tipahiya Chalak Sangh, meanwhile, wants an increase in the base fare of auto rickshaws from Rs 10 to Rs 15.
“If the base fare is hiked, we won’t lose anything. We will meet tomorrow at Anand Vihar to discuss and plan our protest on April 1,” he said.
BJP protests price rise
Condemning the Delhi government’s budget, the BJP protested outside CM Sheila Dikshit’s residence on Tuesday.
Led by former union minister & BJP national general secretary Vijay Goel, BJP members demonstrated against the new taxes imposed in the Delhi budget.
The demonstrators, including children, carried placards against price hikes of cooking gas and milk apart from levying of VAT on certain essential items.
Goel said, “It is shameful that Delhi Government is penalizing the common people in the name of Commonwealth Games.” He said the government knew that Games are to be held in Delhi since 2003 but sat on the preparations till 2008 resulting in escalation of costs.
Women for rollback
All India Mahila Congress, the Congress’ women’s wing, on Tuesday urged the chief minister to rollback the price hike as it would add to the prevailing high prices of essential commodities and adversely effect women.
“She is a woman and should understand the impact of Rs 40 hike on a gas cylinder. Increase in diesel prices and other taxes will raise the household budgets of women,” AIMC president Prabha Thakur said.