Delhi transport minister Satyendar Jain called the auto and taxi and strike in Delhi on Tuesday a BJP-sponsored protest. The auto rickshaw and taxi drivers have declared an indefinite strike against the app-based taxi services.
“This strike is being managed by people from BJP. It is a BJP-sponsored strike and we have already written to Delhi Police asking them to take action against any rowdy elements. Only 2 to 4 % of the auto rickshaw drivers are on strike,” said Jain.
According to the driver unions on strike, at least 85,000 autos and 15,000 kaali-peeli taxis have been taken off road. Twenty unions have come together and formed a Joint Action Committee to start the strike. In this tussle the commuters faced a tough time in some areas, especially during the office rush hour. Many were left stranded at places like the railway stations and ISBTs.
“Three months ago, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had given us in writing that the government would take action against Ola and Uber. Still no action has been taken against them,” said Rajendra Soni, general secretary of Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh and Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union.
Soni said that blaming the BJP is a mere tactic of the government to hide its failure in reining in the app-based taxis.
Jain, however, said that the auto drivers are staying off roads as they are being threatened. “Since morning, many auto drivers have called and said that they are being threatened. They are being told that the roof cover of their autos will be cut with blade which costs them at least Rs 5,000. We appeal to Delhi police, Lieutenant-Governor to take action,” he said.
The minister also said that shutting down the app-based services was not in government’s hand. “We can do nothing about closing down the app-based services. The power is with the Centre,” said Jain.