The chain hunger strike of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), a wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party, entered 18th day at Mandi on Thursday.
BMS leaders alleged the district administration of having a fixed attitude towards them.
On contrary, additional district magistrate (ADM) Pankaj Rai said the district administration had a dialogue with the BMS leaders and informed them about the measures the administration was taking to resolve the issues regarding their demands.
He further said the new auto fares had been finalised and displayed, but the local auto-rickshaw union was denying accepting the new rates.
Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the administration's efforts, the BMS leaders warned that they would launch a protest with 200 taxis and 500 auto-rickshaws on board on Saturday, adding that the administration would be responsible for the possible traffic jam and chaos.
“I do not understand why three-wheelers and taxi operators are threatening and pressurising the administration for conceding their illogical demands. The auto-rickshaw drivers are already charging more than `20-`30 for a kilometre, which is, perhaps, the highest rate anywhere in north India,” said Rakesh Sharma, a local banker.
He added that the administration should set up an inquiry board to decide on the auto-rickshaw fare and should also cut the prevailing “illogical” charges in the fare.
Mandi Bachao Sangharsh Morcha president Lakshmender Guleria said: “The town has limited expanse, the taxi and auto-rickshaw union should have realised this fact.”
Guleria further said the administration should provide parking space only for four taxi stands and an office with telephone facility somewhere near Seri Manch.
“The administration has already asked them to park rest of their taxis near bypass area. The office manager at the taxi union office can easily inform a taxi owner/driver at bypass on telephone when someone will call a taxi, said Guleria, adding why to make already congested town area more congested by parking idle taxis.
He further said instead of pressurising the administration with their illogical demands, the auto-rickshaw union should organise camps to train drivers about the traffic rules, road sense, use of indication lights, and meaning of notifications issued by the administration in public interest. Above all, the auto drivers should know the meaning of Constitutional Rights of pedestrians, he added.