New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) Thousands of autorickshaw drivers went on an indefinite strike on Tuesday in the national capital against app based taxi services, badly affecting commuters.
An estimated 90,000 autorickshaws ply in Delhi, and union leaders said almost all of them had joined the protest. Only a few autorickshaw drivers plied on Tuesday, that too within residential neighbourhoods.
“This time we have ensured that no autorickshaw plies. We expect the Delhi Government to accept our demand without which we won’t withdraw the strike,” union leader Sanjay Chawla told IANS.
Chawla said the autorickshaw drivers wanted the Delhi Government to fix rates for the app-based taxi services “so that they do not harm our business”.
“As of now, these taxi service providers advertise Rs 6-7 per km but charge Rs 14-15, which is far more. However by doing this they are able to woo the customers and hurt our business,” he said.
A large number of autorickshaw drivers gathered at the New Delhi railway station and staged a noisy protest.
Autorickshaws are key to commuting in Delhi. Commuters across the city complained of lack of autorickshaws, forcing thousands to turn to buses or Delhi Metro.
Buses were unusually overcrowded on Tuesday. Strike backers gathered at numerous places and forced out passengers out of the few autorickshaws that were plying.
In one instance, on the arterial Ring Road, the strikers used bamboo sticks to damage a strike-defying autorickshaw after threatening its driver. The passengers were not harmed.