Harrowing time for commuters as auto strike continues in Delhi



New Delhi: After a manic Monday, it was a traumatic Tuesday for commuters in the capital as over 55,000 auto-rickshaws remained off the roads for the second consecutive day against the Delhi government's crackdown on drivers operating without permits, licences and pollution control certificates.

Thousands of Delhiites struggled to get to their workplaces on time as they were left with no option but to travel on overcrowded buses of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and the private Bluelines.

"I left half-an-hour early for my office in Nehru Place Tuesday as I had to take a bus. It was so difficult to find an auto on Monday, so I decided to take a bus. Due to the strike of auto drivers, buses are running overcrowded," said Sangeeta Singh, an IT professional.

"I tied up with my friend and she dropped me to office. It was very difficult to find an auto Monday evening while returning home and I had to call my husband to pick me up," said Tripati Singh, a doctor in a government hospital.

The strike called under the banner of Bharatiya Tipahiya Chalak Sangh Monday was joined by over 18 auto-rickshaw drivers' associations. In many parts of the capital, members of the auto drivers association were seen forcing some autos plying on roads to join the strike.

"I am not a member of any association but some auto drivers threatened to damage my auto if I drove the vehicle. So I decided not to take a chance," said Salim Abbas, an auto-rickshaw driver in east Delhi.

After their talks with the Delhi government failed Monday, the auto-rickshaw association decided to continue with their strike Tuesday.

"We will continue with our strike. We will meet in the evening to decide on the future course of action if the Delhi government does not listen to our problems," Sobran Singh Rajput, president of the Bharatiya Tipahiya Chalak Sangh, said.

The Delhi government has decided to take stringent action against auto drivers not complying with the orders.

"Auto-rickshaw drivers are striking to resist any kind of clean-up. We will not let the unruliness continue on Delhi's roads with drivers plying without a licence," Delhi Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely had said Monday.

IANS