With autos and taxis off the roads and metro trains and buses packed to capacity, commuters in Delhi had a harrowing time as the two-day nationwide strike called by various trade unions began Wednesday.
"We will be on strike today and tomorrow (Wednesday and Thursday) as we are fed up with the government's indifferent attitude towards us," Suresh Sharma, president of the Rashtravadi Janta Tipahiya Chalak Mahasangh, said.
Sharma, who represents a section of autorickshaw drivers, said despite rising CNG prices, the government had not revised auto fares. Besides, the enforcement department of the government harasses the driver unnecessarily all the time.
"We know that the strike will spell trouble for a lot of people but we appeal to them to understand our pain too," he added.
Central trade unions have called for two-day mega strike as their talks with the government failed to reach a conclusion.
The unions have demanded concrete measures for containing inflation, steps for employment generation, universal social security, and making the minimum wage to Rs. 10,000 per month along with daily allowance.
As autos and taxis went off the road, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) came to the rescue. All unions of the DTC had Tuesday agreed not to participate in the shutdown.
There was a huge rush at several metro stations across Delhi.
"There was terrible rush at the Rajiv Chowk station (central Delhi) and everyone was jostling for space," said Mohammed Imran, whose office is in Connaught Place - the central Delhi business and commercial hub.
However, those coming in the city from outside were not lucky enough as several people were left stranded at railway stations for hours.
The strike, on Wednesday and Thursday, has been called jointly by the BMS, Indian Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) and other such central organisations.