Thane auto drivers go on strike, demand fare hike
Hundreds of auto-rickshaws started a rally from Thane Railway Station to the Regional Transport Office on Wednesday to demand a hike in fares.
Since rickshaws were off the streets, passengers were left in a limbo for nearly two hours.
Nearly 18,000 rickshaws run on Thane city roads and most of them use Clean Natural Gas (CNG).
There are nine auto-rickshaw unions in Thane and all of them came together for the rally. With the increase in CNG prices, Thane auto-rickshaw unions are demanding an increase in fares as well.
The bone of contention for Thane rickshaw drivers is that the CNG price in Thane is Re 1 more than that in Mumbai, and yet they have only got a fare hike of Re 1, whereas Mumbai has got a Rs. 2 hike.
While the cost of CNG in Mumbai is Rs. 3147, it costs Rs 32.41 paise in Thane.
“We pay more than Mumbai for CNG. We also have to pay five per cent octroi in Thane. The tyre, spare parts also cost more. We are demanding that we should get Rs 15 as opposed to Rs 11 for a distance of 1.6 km, and if it is more than 1.6 km then Rs 8 as opposed to Rs. 6.50 per km,” said Vinayak Surve of Ekta Rickshaw Taxi Union.
The rickshaw unions submitted an application of their demands to regional transport officer N. K. Patil.
“We have not accepted the decision taken by Transport Minister. Apart from the increase in fare, we also want rickshaw drivers to be allowed to take students. If our demands are not met, then we will go on an indefinite strike from midnight on July 12,” said Ravi Rao of Thane Auto-rickshaw men Union.