65k auto drivers may go on strike?

Sushant Ranjan
Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Baba Kamble said, “We are going to strike from tomorrow. We have asked the government to talk and resolve our problems. Our only demand is to stop Ola and Uber services in the city. It is affecting our business. They are illegal. Our strike will continue till the demand is fulfilled.”

PUNE: Over 65,000 autorickshaw men in Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and four lakh across the State may go on an indefinite strike from Monday midnight. Union leaders had issued a warning in this regard a month ago and a notice was sent to the government.

The strike is likely to affect thousands of daily commuters in Pune. Since it is raining for the past four days continuously, autorickshaws are in high demand. 

Maharashtra Rickshaw Panchayat General Secretary Baba Kamble said, “We are going to strike from tomorrow. We have asked the government to talk and resolve our problems. Our only demand is to stop Ola and Uber services in the city. It is affecting our business. They are illegal. Our strike will continue till the demand is fulfilled.”

The autorickshaw drivers are demanding a complete ban on app-based aggregator cab services such as Ola and Uber. However, a major autorickshaw union ‘Rickshaw Panchayat’ will stay away from the strike.

“We are not participating in any strike. Our demand is to remove the obstacles in autorickshaw passing and stopping of open permit for autorickshaws. There is no planning in vehicle registration, which causes heavy traffic on all roads. We have protested at the Pune Regional Transport Office (RTO) on Monday,” said Rickshaw Panchayat General Secretary Nitin Pawar.

Some unions are participating from Pune, Nashik, Nagpur and Aurangabad. 

The unions said there must be government regulation of services rendered by aggregator cabs.

However, commuters had mixed reactions. Most of the commuters complained that autorickshaw men often refuse to ply.  35-year-old Suhasini Kulkarni, a resident of Karve Nagar, said, “I don’t have a two-wheeler and use autorickshaw for commuting. They refuse to ply and have to wait for 15-20 minutes every day to pick up my daughter from school. Now, I am using app-based auto services. It is cheaper than regular autorickshaw fare.”

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