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More strikes likely until state comes up with rules

mumbai Updated: Aug 31, 2016 23:43 IST
Kailash Korde
Kailash Korde
Hindustan Times
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People for a bus at Kurla on Wednesday.(Arijit Sen/HT PHOTO)

Even though Mumbaiites have faced three strikes this year owing to a tussle between taxi-auto drivers and app-based taxi aggregators Ola and Uber, the possibility of another strike in the near future cannot be ruled out.

For the past two years, taxi and autorickshaw drivers have been protesting against app-based taxi aggregators that have become popular among commuters owing to ease of booking, air-conditioned ride at cheaper fares and well-mannered drivers, among others.

The government has proposed the City Taxi Scheme 2015 to regulate app- based taxis and provide level-playing field among all stakeholders.

While the state was about to finalise it this month, the Centre set up another committee which deferred the process.

Taxi and auto unions said the government is trying to buy time.

According to union sources, further delay in finalizing rules could lead to another strike.

Commuters, meanwhile, want the government to take steps to save them the hassle.

“Last June, taxis went off roads abruptly demanding restrictions on Ola and Uber. Before that, autorickshaws went on a strike in February over a similar demand. Is there an end to it,” asked Vinod Patil, an IT professional.

Jai Bhagavan Mahasangh, a new taxi and rickshaw union had threatened an indefinite strike on August 29, but deferred it after intervention of transport minister Diwakar Raote. The union will take a call about the course of action after a meeting with Raote on Thursday.

Transport department officials said this time the government took all possible efforts to prevent the strike, but the Mumbai autorickshawmen’s union was adamant.

Transport commissioner Pravin Gedam said they are trying to find out a way through dialogue with the unions. “Transport minister Diwakar Raote has called a meeting of taxi and autorickshaw unions,” said Gedam.