An auto strike in Ghaziabad that entered its third day on Wednesday crippled life in the NCR city. Commuters had a horrendous time as shared autos are a key mode of transportation in the city that has no dedicated bus service.
The auto operators are demanding an immediate ban on the issue of new permits, introduction of pre-paid booths and free movement between Ghaziabad and Noida.
The 14,000 autos are the lifeline of Ghaziabad as they are the single largest carriers of commuters to various destinations every day.
Thousands of office-goers, students and others had to pay exorbitant fares to reach their destinations. A few autos were seen plying on Link Road and NH-24 but there were no autos on the internal roads of trans-Hindon and city areas.
“Auto drivers and rickshaws overcharged us. As no other mode of transport is available, I had to pay the extra amount,” said Yash Singh, a resident of Raj Nagar.
Commuters who travelled from the Vaishali Metro station to their homes at Vasundhara, Indirapuram and delta-colonies had to pay anything between R60-90 for a hired auto.
“For a distance of 4km, they are charging Rs. 80-R90. They are harassing commuters taking advantage of the strike. This is not justified at all,” said Jaspreet Singh, a commuter outside Vaishali Metro station.
Later in the day, the auto drivers decided to call off the strike from Thursday after a meeting with the district authorities.
Pramod Kasana from the auto drivers’ union said autos would ply normally from Thursday. “Our several demands have been accepted. We have issued directions to auto drivers to ply normally from Thursday,” Kasana said.
Additional municipal commissioner AK Singh, who held talks with the union leaders, said notices would be sent to the parking contractors who allegedly overcharged the auto drivers.