Commuters found themselves stranded on the road with autorickshaw drivers declaring a statewide strike on Thursday. Various autorickshaw unions in Delhi called for a statewide strike to protest against the imposition of the GPS tracking system in autorickshaws by the Delhi Government.
Certain pockets of the city in East and South Delhi, such as Anand Vihar, Maharani Bagh, Ashram and New Friends Colony were hit hard by the strike. Arterial points such as the New Delhi Railway Station saw just two autorickshaws at the stand.
“The taxi drivers are charging exorbitantly and there is not a single auto here. Why must the common passenger suffer for a government policy?” asked an angry Ashwin Sharma, who was waiting outside the railway station for half an hour before being forced to hail a taxi.
However, some of the union members claimed that only 30% auto drivers went on strike. Autorickshaws plied normally in areas like Greater Kailash, South Extension and Connaught Place and the commuters did not have to bear the brunt of the strike as much, since there wasn’t any visible reduction on the number of autos plying on these areas.
“I travel to Hauz Khas everyday for work and I didn’t have much trouble finding an auto today (Thursday). I’d heard that there was a strike today, but didn’t notice any drastic change in their numbers,” said Mohit Anand.
The strike has been called on account of the Delhi government’s decision to install GPS tracking system in all autorickshaws. This requires all auto drivers to pay the government a sum of R15,000 per annum. The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, spearheading the strike, has called for the Welfare Board to be handed over to them by the government.