Commuters faced harrowing time on roads across the state capital on Monday with indefinite strike of the diesel auto drivers. Some 10,000 autos went off the roads. However, the district administration is yet to step in to end the crisis.
The strike impacted major parts of the city. But a section of the auto drivers protested the strike and allowed their autos to ply on the road.
However, number of such autos was negligible. Some 45 city buses, which ply every day in the city, were not enough to meet commuters’ requirement on Monday.
Commuters had no option but to find space in the overloaded city buses, as a few petrol-run autos were on the roads charging exorbitant fare to take advantage of the strike.
“It’s my first visit to Ranchi. But, I did not know that the auto is the lifeline of the city. Auto strike spelt difficulties to the passengers but district administration did not arrange any alternative. I have been waiting for last one hour for an auto to go to Kutchery Chowk,” said Suraj Kumar, a college student.
Female passengers were the worst sufferers. They were seen waiting for autos at many places braving 39 degree Celsius temperature.
“We do not want to leave the commuters in trouble but the RMC and district administration have compelled the auto drivers for this step. We have three simple demands that include issue fresh permit to registered autos withdrawing earlier permits, cancel the RMC tender for auctioning of auto stand and stop police’s torture on auto drivers,” said Dinesh Soni, president of Jharkhand State Diesel Auto Drivers Association (JSDADA).
Soni is on hunger strike near Ranchi municipal corporation (RMC) from Sunday evening.
A delegation of the association also met the deputy secretary of the urban development department Shashibhusan Mehra. “We urged him to at least cancel the tender floated by the RMC so that the president of the JSDADA could break his fast. The deputy secretary said that the department is considering the demand,” said Aurangzeb Alam, advisor of JSDADA.
However, a faction of the JSDADA claimed that there was partial impact of the strike. “We allowed a large number of autos to ply on the road keeping in mind the passengers’ problem. Strike is not a solution to any problem,” said Nagendra Pandey, who claims to be the secretary of JSDADA.