Mumbai: Auto Rickshaw Strike at Bandra  . Photo by BL SONI
Mumbai: Auto Rickshaw Strike at Bandra . Photo by BL SONI

Mumbai : With 20,000 autorickshaws going off the streets, office goers and students faced severe inconvenience on Wednesday. The strike was called by Shashank Rao-led Autorickshawmen’s Association, which is the largest union of autorickshaw owners and drivers.

Though the city didn’t come to a complete standstill, several areas of the city were severely affected. The major areas that were affected due to the strike include Kurla, Ghatkopar, Andheri and Bandra amongst others.

Mumbai: Crowd in Bus Stop after Auto Rickshaw Strike at Andheri . Photo by BL SONI
Mumbai: Crowd in Bus Stop after Auto Rickshaw Strike at Andheri . Photo by BL SONI

Some autorickshaw drivers were seen plying on the city streets with a saffron flag on their vehicles to display their alliance to Shiv Sena union. Mohammad Iqbal, an auto driver in Ghatkopar, said, “Despite wanting to ply on the city streets, I am not going on road as there is always a probability that your vehicle might get vandalised by those who have called for the strike.”

With no other options available, commuters flocked around the bus stops outside the railway stations which had serpentine queue of commuters.  Shaheen Khan, a resident who works in Kurla, said, “There were absolutely no autorickshaws available but we were not inconvenienced much as there were ample of BEST buses available. The frequency of these buses was also good because of which they were not much crowded.”

However, another commuter Pujak Dhamadikar heading to Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) from Bandra station, said, “There very few autorickshaws available and they were charging as per their whims and fancies. While ordinary it did not take more than Rs 20 per seat today they are charging double.”

The BEST operated extra buses to meet the demands of the passengers. A total of 225 buses were run additionally on various routes apart from the usual bus services.

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Union placated at the expense of Mumbaikars’ inconvenience

Mumbai : At the expense of inconvenience that Mumbaikars had to face, the state transport commissioner Soniya Sethi on Wednesday presented a bunch of promises to the autorickshaw union leaders for fulfilling their demands.

Transport commissioner has assured that suggestions of the union will be considered for the formulation of a new policy to govern transportation in the state. Also, permits that the auto drivers have won during the lottery will be issued soon.

The autorikshaw owners and drivers association had called for a strike to oppose radio cab operators like Ola and Uber which, they claim, eat into their revenue. A new policy is being drafted and it will also cover radio cab operators under its purview.

Union leader Shashank Rao said, “Transport commissioner has assured us that our suggestions will be considered before the formulation of policy in this subject. Very soon, we will submit our draft to the transport department in this regard.”

Further, transport department will take action against illegal vehicles including mini-buses, call centre vehicles and others.

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