On the first day of the two-day strike of called by various unions of autorikshaw drivers’ unions, majority of nearly 55, 000 autorikshaws went off the streets in Delhi.
In the strike called in protest against the government’s crackdown against autorikshaw drivers who are operating without valid licence and permit, drivers belonging to as many as 17 unions – such as Bharatiya Tipahiya Chalak Sangh, Capital Autorickshaw Drivers Union and Rashtravadi Tipahiya Chalak Sangh etc – are taking part.
“We are protesting against the government’s policies that are hurting our livelihood,” said Sobran Singh Rajput, president of the Bharatiya Tipahiya Chalak Sangh. “If an auto rickshaw driver leaves his licence at home by mistake, he is fined up to Rs. 20,000. The drivers are left with no option but to fleece commuters.”
However, some autorikshaws were seen operating on road as not all unions have participated in the strike. Needless to add, Taxi Union has already refused to extent support to the strike
“Autorickshaw drivers are striking to resist any kind of clean up,” said Delhi transport minister Arvinder Singh Lovely. “We will not let the unruliness continue on Delhi’s roads with drivers plying without a licence.”