Autorickshaw drivers in Ghaziabad went on an indefinite strike on Sunday to press for their demands.
The drivers also organised a protest march at the Old Bus Stand and some other areas in the city.
This is the second time that autorickshaw drivers in the city have gone on a strike.
They had earlier declared an indefinite strike on September 21. But it was called off after Ghaziabad district magistrate (DM) Vimal Kumar
Sharma assured the autorickshaw unions that their demands will be looked into in three days.
Ghaziabad has nearly 16,000 autos that serve as a vital transport option within the city. The strike is expected to affect thousands of daily commuters from Monday.
Dilshad Ahmed, member of an auto union, said, “We are helpless as no one is listening to us. The district magistrate had assured us that our problems will be resolved within three days, but nothing happened.
Then we had staged a dharna at the Old Bus Stand and also given a letter
to the district magistrate informing him that we will start an indefinite strike on October 4.”
DM Sharma, however, denied having any knowledge of the strike.
“I will get in touch with the regional transport officer and administrative officials to see that the issues are resolved and commuters face no problems,” Sharma said.
Auto drivers said one of their grievances is that the life of their vehicles (2+1 seat capacity) is 15 years but the transport department considers it only eight years. Also, the life of tempos (7+1 seat capacity) is 10 years,
but it is considered only seven years.
“We want that life of an auto and tempo be considered 15 and 10 years, respectively. We have held several discussions with transport officials,
but they have not replied,” Ahmed said.
The drivers are also unhappy as they have been asked to pay road tax in one time.
“Earlier, the drivers were allowed to pay the tax amount in annual installments.
A poor driver cannot pay the entire tax in one time,” Ahmed said.
“Further, there are a number of passengers who travel between Ghaziabad and Noida. Our vehicles should be allowed to go to Noida also,” he said.
The drivers also want that meters should be made mandatory only for the newly registered autos and the old ones should be spared.
Transport department officials, meanwhile, said life span of auto and tempo has been fixed as per orders issued by the state transport department.
“A lot of auto owners did not pay the road tax when they were allowed to pay it annually.
They would not pay up and change their addresses frequently. Now, they will have to pay one-time tax,”
said Kamal Gupta,
additional regional transport officer.