If you are flying to Bangalore on Friday, be ready to face the heat of taxi strike. You may not get any vehicle from the Kempe Gowda International Airport (KGIA) in the outskirts of Bangalore to reach your destination in the city. Even if you have your own vehicle, protestors may block the road near the airport toll gate preventing you from reaching the city.
The passengers who are taking the flights from Bangalore may also have to go through a similar ordeal from Friday.
Private taxi drivers and lorry owners in Karnataka are expected to go on an indefinite strike from Friday demanding a rollback of the four-fold hike on the expressway to the Bangalore international airport. More than 7 lakh commercial vehicles, including cabs, taxis and trucks are likely to join the protests.
Single entry toll for Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) has been increased from Rs 20 to Rs 75. Vehicles with return trip will now have to pay Rs 115 instead of Rs 30. This overnight hike last week by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) makes the expressway one of the costliest roads in the country. Taxi and lorry owners are demanding an immediate rollback on the fares.
The association on Thursday met Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah putting forth their demands. Siddaramaiah said the state government will be reaching out to the Centre to bring a solution to the crisis.
“I requested Mr Oscar Fernandes (Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways) to take up a meeting and see if there is some consensus,” Siddaramaiah tolf CNN-IBN.
“Until the Chief Minister gives us an assurance, we will not call off the strike. The toll hike puts a strain on taxi drivers. If we pay so much for the toll, what will the drivers eat? We’re ready to pay the toll price. But this looting must be stopped,” said All India Motor Transport Congress Toll Committee Chairman GR Shanmugappa.
The hike had triggered protests by the BJP, JD(S) and various groups with commuters too complaining about the steep hike. Even former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda sat in a dharna near the toll gate protesting steep hike in the toll.