Auto strike cripples Delhi; unions refuse to budge

Last Updated: Friday, May 20, 2011 - 22:25

New Delhi: More than half of the over
55,000 autorickshaws went off the roads of Delhi on Friday causing
severe inconvenience to commuters as unions went on a strike
protesting Delhi government`s decision to make installation of
GPS system mandatory but they withdrew their stir late at
night.

After a meeting held late evening, all major autorickshaw
unions decided to call-off their strike following an assurance
from Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely that some of
their grievances would be looked into.

Leaders of several auto unions took part in the meeting.
Rajender Soni, General Secretary of Delhi Auro Mahasangh,
said they have decided to withdraw their strike after the
Minister assured that them that he would look into their
demands.

"The demands include setting up of a welfare board to
look after auto drivers and subsidy for installing the GPS,"
he said.

Earlier, Lovely had warned the autorickshaw owners of
strong punitive action, including cancellation of permits,
if the strike was not called off.

The strike mostly affected office-goers as people had to
wait for buses or look for other modes of transport to reach
their destinations.

"I really struggled to find an auto. Though many autos
were there at the auto stand, no one was willing to ply.

Government did not take any measure to ensure that the autos
ply," said Prakash Singh, a sales executive from Laxmi Nagar
who works in a private company in Connaught Place.

"I had to wait for almost 45 minutes to board a bus as
most of the buses were overcrowded. The strike has really
affected the public transport system," said Rohan Aggarwal, a
resident of Bhogal area in South Delhi.

At a meeting with auto unions` yesterday, Lovely had
decided to introduce a scheme under which an autorickshaw
owner will have to shell out Rs 625 as monthly installment for
one year as cost of the GPS system. After the meeting, the
Minister had claimed that the unions have agreed to install
GPS system and call off the strike.

PTI



First Published: Friday, May 20, 2011 - 22:25

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