New Delhi: Commuters had a harrowing time today in the national capital as a large number autorickshaws and taxis went off the roads during a one-day strike against the 'City Taxi' scheme launched by the AAP government.
The strike, which coincided with the one called by trade unions across the country against NDA government's policies, left people stranded at bus and railway stations while metro and Delhi Transport Corporation buses saw immense rush.
Office-goers and students were especially hit hard by the strike during morning hours. People were seen waiting for hours at bus stops in several parts of the city.
Rajendra Soni, general secretary of Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh and Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union, claimed that their strike has been successful.
"If Delhi government doesn't pay heed to our demands soon, we will announce more strikes in future. We cannot compromise with the livelihood of drivers as this scheme will snatch their livelihood," Soni said.
Delhi government said that auto and taxi unions should have talked to it before going on the strike.
"They (auto and taxi unions) did not approach us with their demands before going on strike. I have got complaints from some drivers of autorickshaws that representatives of unions are not allowing them to run their vehicles on roads.
"In view of this, police should ensure protection for those drivers who want to play autorickshaws on the roads," Transport Minister Gopal Rai said. However, Soni refuted the allegations.
According to the new scheme, vehicles having capacity of 600 cc onwards can register with the government as taxis. Until now, only those vehicles which had capacity of 750 cc or more were issued permits.
Major trade unions of the country have also called for a country-wide strike today to press for their 12-point charter of demands which includes urgent measures to contain price rise, contain unemployment, strict enforcement of basic labour laws, universal social security cover for all workers and minimum wage of Rs 15,000 per month.
They are also demanding enhanced pension for workers, stoppage of disinvestment in PSUs, stoppage of contractorisation, removal of ceiling on bonus and provident fund, compulsory registration of trade unions within 45 days, no amendment to labour laws unilaterally and stopping of FDI in railways, defence, etc.