Friday onward, commuters may have a tough time, with several autorickshaw unions threatening to go on strike. That is, if the government does not bear the cost of installation of global positioning systems (GPS) in autorickshaws.
The strike is likely to be complete and may continue for long, this time, with transport minister Arvinder Singh refusing to give in to unions’ demands.
“We increased the auto fare last year by an additional 50 paise per kilometre, on condition that autorickshaw drivers would save this money and pay for the GPS system. This was agreed upon by autorickshaw unions at that time. The clause was included in the government notification too,” Singh said."The auto-rickshaw unions do not want to install the device and are making all kinds of excuses for that. We cannot let these unions hold the government to ransom. The installation of GPS is for security, safety and comfort of the people of Delhi and there will be no compromise on that," the minister added. "If they go on strike, we will take tough action. We may even cancel permits of their vehicles," the minister added.
The transport department had initially asked for R15,000 in instalments from auto drivers to install GPS devices. The department later reduced the price to R7,500 but also dropped the initial plan to provide call-an-auto service to passengers.
“That the government reduced the price of the GPS system only by half makes it clear that there is a scam in this. The government should bear the cost of the device and also honour its commitment of constituting a welfare board and social security system for autorickshaw drivers,” said Rajendra Soni, spokesperson, Bhartiya Auto Transport Mazdoor Mahasangh.
“If the government does not accept our demands, our strike will be an indefinite one. The people of Delhi will suffer in this hot weather,” Soni added.