Protesting against the soaring app-based taxi services, around 90,000 auto-rickshaw drivers went on an indefinite strike badly affecting commuters in Delhi on Tuesday.
Union leaders said almost all auto-drivers had joined the protest. Only a few auto-rickshaw drivers plied on Tuesday, that too within residential neighborhoods.
“This time we have ensured that no auto-rickshaw plies on road. We expect the Delhi Government to accept our demand without which we won’t withdraw the strike,” union leader Sanjay Chawla said.
The union leader said the auto-rickshaw drivers wanted the Delhi Government to fix rates for the app-based taxi services “so that they do not harm our business”.
“As of now, these taxi service providers advertise Rs 6-7 per km but charge Rs 14-15, which is far more. However by doing this, they are able to woo the customers and hurt our business,” he said.
A large number of auto-rickshaw drivers gathered at New Delhi railway station and staged a noisy protest.
Auto-rickshaws are key to commuting in Delhi. Commuters across the city complained of lack of auto-rickshaws, forcing thousands to turn to buses or Delhi Metro.
Buses were unusually overcrowded on Tuesday. Strike backers gathered at numerous places and forced passengers out of the few auto-rickshaws that were plying.
On the arterial Ring Road, the strikers used bamboo sticks to damage an auto-rickshaw after threatening its defiant driver. The passengers were not harmed.