Auto drivers threaten to go off roads again from Nov 9
Commuters may have to pay yet again for the transport department’s drive against errant autorickshaw drivers, who have warned of another agitation if their demand for a fare hike is not met by early November.mumbai Updated: Oct 19, 2011 01:26 IST
Commuters may have to pay yet again for the transport department’s drive against errant autorickshaw drivers, who have warned of another agitation if their demand for a fare hike is not met by early November.
The drivers have gone on two flash strikes since the traffic police’s crackdown, which began on September 16.
Autorickshaw drivers say the 50 paise fare hike for every kilometre, which came into effect on Monday, is not enough. Shashank Rao, assistant general secretary of Mumbai Autorickshawmen’s Union, said, “We are planning an indefinite agitation starting November 9. We have not decided on the course of action but the agitation is required as the government has not treated us fairly. The 50 paisa hike is illogical. We do not understand on what basis this hike was decided.”
Rao’s union has been insisting on implementation of the Patankar committee formula, which was submitted to the state government in 1993. According to the union, the formula takes into account various factors such as the auto drivers’ expenses, price of fuel, maintenance costs, and inflation in other commodities used in the profession.
The union members were scheduled to meet VN More, state transport commissioner, on October 14 to press for new fare structure, but the meeting was cancelled due to a change in More’s schedule.
“When we agitate, officials blame that we do not talk to them. Now, when we want to talk, they are turning their backs on us,” Rao said.
Although Rao did not mention the word ‘strike’, auto drivers are assuming they will have to go off roads. “We are being told that we will have to stop work for three days starting November 9,” said an auto driver from Bandra.