Commuters in this silicon city were put to great hardship as nearly 75,000 autorickshaws went off the roads on Monday in response to the dawn-to-dusk strike called by auto unions protesting the government’s directive to change colour of the vehicles.

Regular auto commuters had to depend on Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) which deployed additional buses.

Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers Union President M Manjunath said the protest was against the government order making it mandatory for autorickshaws to change their black and yellow colour to green and yellow and fix digital meters.

He said the cost of painting would come to Rs 12,000 per auto. “We want the order cancelled,” he added.

Vijay Vikram, Joint Director, Transport (Enforcement), however, said the deadline for change of colour of four-stroke autos running on bi-fuel mode with digital meters had been extended by one year till Oct 1, 2010.

All new autos had to comply with the conditions with immediate effect, existing ones had been given “ample time” to effect the changes, he said.