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Auto and taxi strike postponed

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More than two dozen representatives of various taxi and rickshaw unions in the city met the Maharashtra Industry Minister on Tuesday and discussed their demands. After the meeting, the union leadership announced that they decided to postpone the proposed strike. The indefinite auto and taxi strike announced by the unions in Mumbai from September 15 seeking fare hikes has been adjourned after a meeting with the Maharashtra Industry Minister Uday Samant. Over 48,000 taxi drivers and two lakh, autorickshaw drivers in Mumbai were supposed to go on an indefinite strike.

Mohan Tripathi an auto driver said, “My auto rickshaw is on rental; I have to manage fuel and also the rent of my vehicle. Many auto-rickshaw drivers are unable to pay even EMI to the bank due to low fares. Above all Ola and Uber have taken our half of the business, survival has become tough.”

Tarannum Shaikh, a maid house assistant by profession said, “We poor people have already suffered the losses, now the fare hike for commuting would be another burden. Bus, train, and now auto fare hike. How much stress can a common man take?”

A L Quadros, General Secretary of Mumbai Taximen’s Union, told Afternoon Voice, “We know the common public cannot afford huge fares but our demand to increase the minimum taxi fare to Rs 35 from the existing Rs 25 taxi and auto drivers are ready to accept whatever hike they are eligible to get on the basis of the state transport control committee’s report. However, if the control committee offers a hike of Rs 28 or Rs 30, we are okay with that too as our main demand is an increase in fare.”

The union was demanding a fare hike and asked the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA) to take a decision soon. While the minimum fare for the metered taxis is currently Rs 25, in their written petition to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, the taxi union demanded that the fares should be revised to Rs 30. Similarly, rickshaw unions are also demanding a revision in minimum fare from Rs 21 to Rs 23.

In their meeting with minister Samant, the unions also pushed for a 40 per cent subsidy on CNG gas used for auto rickshaws and taxis. Until this demand is met, an interim increase in the fare of rickshaws and taxis based on the recommendation of the Khatuwa Committee should be given, they asked the minister. As per taxi unions, over the last few months, CNG prices have increased by almost 70 per cent but the fares have remained the same making it difficult for auto and taxi drivers to make ends meet. The auto and taxi unions had called for a strike on August 1. However, the decision was deferred after the government assured that the fares would be revised.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Tamanhttps://authorvaidehi.com
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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