More than 15,000 ‘shared autos’ went off the roads on Monday, following a call given by the auto operators union to protest against the increase in taxes and the challan drive initiated by the traffic police.
Adding to residents’ woes, the operators of ‘shared autos’ prevented Pink Autos, Radio Tuk Tuk and battery-operated rickshaws from plying. “I have been waiting for an auto for 30 minutes to reach my office at Iffco Chowk,” said Amit Dhingra, a commuter.
Even alternative modes of transport were threatened not to ferry passengers. “I used to earn around R1,000 daily. But due to the strike I could not earn even a single rupee,” said Ravi, a Pink Auto driver.
However, the city’s auto union has justified the strike calling themselves ‘victims of the system’. “The administration asked us to install the speed governors which costs around Rs 9,000. How can poor drivers pay such a big fee? The fee should be around Rs 1,000. On the other hand, the city traffic police has been imposing heavy challans. Earlier, we were told that the maximum fine payable would be Rs 500. However, they have been charging up to Rs 4,000,” said Rishi Pal, an auto-drivers’ union leader.
Apart from that, shared autos union has also demanded proper parking facilities in key Gurgaon areas.
However, the city traffic police claim the crackdown is necessary. “We will not allow anyone to break laws. If someone is not following rules, then they have to face the music. We are simply following the Indian Motor Act for imposing fines,” said Bharti Arora, DCP (traffic).
Meanwhile, Gurgaon deputy commissioner PC Meena has called for a meeting with the auto union leaders on Tuesday to discuss issues raised by them.
Stranded passengers cursed the government for the absence of an alternate intracity transport mechanism, such as buses. Almost 75% of the population depends on public transport but the administration has failed to improve the system.