A day after the compressed natural gas (CNG) rate in the Capital recorded a steep hike of Rs.4.50 per kg, auto-rickshaw and taxi unions on Friday condemned the move and decided to hold meetings to strategise whether to go on a strike or not. The office-bearers of nine public auto-rickshaw and taxi union under the banner of Public Auto Taxi Welfare Association are expected to meet today (Saturday) and take a final decision in this regard.
CNG will now cost Rs.50.10/kg in Delhi and Rs.56.70/kg in Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad, Indraprastha Gas Ltd. (IGL) has said. The hike came into effect on Thursday midnight.
Rajendra Baghel, the convenor of the Public Auto and Taxi Union, said the hike was “unreasonable” but going on strike was not the only option. “It is a completely unreasonable hike because it’s the second hike in the last three months. And the hike of Rs. 4.50 per kg is quite steep as compared to the ones in the past. The last Delhi Government had told us that if there was any hike the fares will be proportionately revised,” said Mr. Baghel who is also associated with the Indian National Trade Union Congress.
“All the unions are opposed to the hike. Some of them talked about going on strike but that was just to make the government see our perspective. Frankly we do not want to go on strike because a large part of the auto drivers are daily wagers as well. Going on strike affects their daily life. The other option is to talk to the government and see if the matter is sorted out. But if it cannot then we are looking for fare hike,” he added.
Reacting to the Chief Minister designate Arvind Kejriwal’s appeal to the auto-rickshaw drivers not to go on strike and to give him two days, Mr. Baghel said, “We are ready to talk to the government.”
Mr. Kejriwal on Friday criticised and questioned the Centre’s decision to increase the CNG prices just two days before the new government was to assume power in Delhi.
While talking to the media , Mr. Kejriwal said he would examine the files and explore the possibilities of the roll back of the CNG price hike. Otherwise, he suggested, auto-rickshaw fares may have to be revised.