Bharat Bandh: Fewer autos, taxis but markets to stay open today
New Delhi:People dependent on public transport options such as taxis, autos and last-mile connectivity vehicles may face difficulty in commuting on Tuesday in view of Bharat Bandh, even as DTC buses and Metro will run as usual in the city.
Several unions of taxi and auto-rickshaw operators have joined the strike call given by the farmers protesting against the three farm laws enacted in September that seek to open farm trade.
However, almost all markets including Connaught Place, Lajpat Nagar, Sadar Bazar and Khan Market shall remain open, the concerned associations said on Monday.
While there will not be a complete blackout of autos and cabs in the city on Tuesday, unions said their availability will be “considerably lower than usual”. The Delhi Metro said it will run operations as usual unless there are specific directions from the Delhi Police on Tuesday. Similarly, state-run DTC and cluster buses will also ply as usual. But, last mile connectivity is expected to be hit.
Those who travel on app-based cabs might have to face longer waiting time and pay higher than usual as aggregators are likely to impose surge pricing due to the projected low turnout of driver partners, said a senior transport official.
Kamaljeet Gill, president of Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi, comprising mainly drivers working with cab aggregators, said drivers will not run their cabs associated with Ola, Uber and other app-based aggregators on Tuesday. Sanjay Samrat, president of Delhi Taxi Tourist Transporters’ Association, said several unions including Delhi State Taxi Cooperative Society and Kaumi Ekta Welfare Association will join the strike.
Cab aggregators Ola and Uber refused to comment on the matter.
Apart from cabs and autos, Shyam Lal Gola, general secretary of STA Operators Ekta Manch, said around 8,000 other public service vehicles will also not operate on Tuesday. These include Gramin Sewas, RTVs, phat phat Sewa, eco-friendly cabs and maxi cabs.
However, many other auto and taxi unions have decided to continue normal services despite their support to demands raised by the agitating farmers.
The Aam Aadmi Party-affiliated auto-rickshaw union has decided to run all its autos during the strike, said Santosh Pandey, president of Aapka Apna Auto Taxi Union. Rajender Soni, general secretary of Delhi Auto Rickshaw Sangh, and Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union and Chandu Chaurasia, vice-president of Capital Driver Welfare Association, said the demands of farmers need to be met by the government, but it should not be achieved by causing inconvenience to ordinary people.
MARKETS TO REMAIN OPEN
After several rounds of meetings with shopkeepers and other traders, associations of popular markets such as Connaught Place, Khan Market, Lajpat Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Sadar Bazar, Chandni Chowk, Rajouri Garden, etc have decided to stay open for business on Tuesday. Traders of these markets have requested the Delhi police to provide adequate security to avoid any untoward incident.
“Our business has already suffered a lot due to Covid-19. We will keep the market open as we can’t afford any further loss. Now that customers have started coming back to the market, closing the shops will hurt the customers’ confidence,” said Atul Bhargava, president of New Delhi Traders’ Association in Connaught Place.
In Sarojini Nagar, shop shopkeepers have decided to wear black badges as a mark of solidarity with the farmers, even as their shops will remain open. Ashok Randhawa, president of Sarojini Nagar mini market, said, “We understand the problem farmers are facing today. We stand with them, but a majority of traders are not in favour of keeping the market closed. We will wear black badges to support their cause.”
Traders say that business has already suffered in the past few days due farmers sitting at the borders. “Our goods from other states are stuck. Due to the protest, the business has suffered. How will we survive, if we close our shops? If this protest continues, we will suffer huge losses,” said Devraj Baweja, president of Sadar Bazaar traders association.