In the tussle between autorickshaw unions and Delhi government both the parties seemed to have reached a common ground.
Though this doesn't mean that Delhiites will not face problem in commuting from Thursday night because autorickshaw unions are going on strike, there are some who will not strike work. The city has roughly 55,000 autorickshaws and 8000 black-and-yellow taxis.
The government's intervention to sort out opposition to the cost to installing Global Positioning System (GPS) has managed to convince most autorickshaw unions barring just one.
Convening a meeting on Thursday evening, the government has decided to give some respite by allowing payment of Rs 7,500 — the cost of GPS device — in 12 monthly instalments. The government has directed the TSR operators to install GPS in their vehicles by June 1. The meeting was chaired by transport minister Arvinder Singh.
Singh said, "We offered them to pay the amount in easy instalment of Rs 650 per month. Besides, we may think of giving subsidy to the ones who are poor and can't afford even the instalments."
"The government has never refused to set up welfare board for auto drivers. It will happen soon," he added.
While most auto unions have welcomed the government's decision, some are still not happy.
"We will observe indefinite strike from Thursday midnight. We will withdraw the strike only if the government either install GPS in autorickshaws for free or gives 50% subsidy to all. We also want a welfare board for TSR drivers," said Rajendra Soni, national president of Bhartiya Private Transport Mazdur Mahasangh.
The union is also opposed to the 75% hike in insurance charges by central government and 10% toll tax of MCD.
Kishan Varma, president of Federation of All Delhi Auto Taxi Transporters Congress (a Congress trade union) comprising about 22,000 autorickshaw and taxi drivers, however, said the strike isn't justified.