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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Commuters hit as autos stay off roads till noon in symbolic protest

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 29, 2014
First Published: 01:38 IST(29/7/2014) | Last Updated: 01:43 IST(29/7/2014)

Commuters had a tough time as a large number of auto-rickshaws remained off the road on Monday in response to the one-day symbolic strike called by the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh.

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The auto-rickshaw drivers were protesting the alleged high-handedness of traffic and local police.

The pre-paid auto-rickshaw booths were empty in the morning at c and Sarai Kale Khan and Anand Vihar inter-state bus terminals.

“It took me about 40 minutes to get an auto-rickshaw to Munirka and that too after I walked half a kilometre towards Connaught Place,” said Ravinder Sahu, who came to New Delhi Railway Station from Patna.

Normalcy was restored only after 2 pm when the union called off the strike following its ‘fruitful’ and ‘positive’ meeting with special traffic police commissioner, Muktesh Chander.

“We had a positive meeting with the special police commissioner at his office. He has agreed to most of our demands. We called off our one-day symbolic strike immediately after the meeting and decided to continue in a normal manner Thursday onwards. We will continue to work till late evenings and won’t go home at 4pm after eight hours of duty, as we had announced earlier,” Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (transport unit) vice president Rajendra Soni said.

Soni claimed the traffic police had agreed to withdraw its plainclothes officials who were allegedly harassing them in the name of issuing challans for refusing to take passengers.

“The special commissioner expressed anger against traffic policemen asking bribes to let auto drivers pick passengers from railway and metro stations and assured strict action against them. He agreed to let us put a board on our vehicle that we are off duty so that we are allowed to take passengers in the direction where we live. He will write to the transport department in this regard,” Soni said.

The union alleged auto drivers were not allowed to take passengers unless they bribed the cops deployed at the railway stations, bus terminals and near metro stations.

Special commissioner Chander, however, said he had asked the auto-unions to give specific examples of policemen harassing them and asking for bribe.

“I have told them that action will be taken if they give us specific cases. We had launched a drive earlier where our officials disguised themselves as civilians and challaned errant drivers who refused to go. It was a special drive which we have discontinued for the time being. We may launch the drive again if we continue to get complaints against them,” Chander said.


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