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Auto-rickshaw strike hits Delhi commuters

Staff Reporter
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Protest against installation of GPS devices

Time to rest:An auto-rickshaw driver taking rest inside the auto in the Capital on Friday during the strike in protest against the installation of Global Positioning System.- Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma
Time to rest:An auto-rickshaw driver taking rest inside the auto in the Capital on Friday during the strike in protest against the installation of Global Positioning System.- Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Commuters across the city faced a difficult time on Friday because of the strike by auto-rickshaw unions against the Delhi Government's decision to install global positioning system (GPS) devices in autos.

While a few autos were seen plying at some places, most commuters had to use alternate modes of transport like buses and the Delhi Metro railway.

“I was late for a meeting in the afternoon and the auto strike made it worse. Buses were overcrowded and the metro only goes to very specific places,” said Janakpuri resident Farzan Khan.

“I had to walk almost two kilometres to get to the nearest bus stop to reach home in R. K. Puram because of the auto strike,” said research assistant Tanya Talwar who works with a firm in Chittaranjan Park.

While most autos stayed off the road, a few did venture out. “An auto driver outside Patel Chowk Metro station, operating as a shared mode of transport was ferrying a few passengers within Connaught Place,” said sales executive Sahil Dhamija.

The strike was called by Bharatiya Private Transport Mazdoor Mahasangh and supporting unions to protest against the installation of GPS devices in autos. After a meeting with the Transport Department on Thursday, some auto unions had expressed satisfaction with the proposal of the Government paying for installation and owners paying only Rs. 625 per month for the GPS devices.

While the Mahasangh president Rajinder Soni could not be reached for comment, Kishen Verma of the All Delhi Auto Taxi Transporter Congress said the auto strike was “wrong and unjustified, causing unnecessary inconvenience to commuters”. He further said the Government's latest proposal was “quite acceptable” and that Mr. Soni's claim of an indefinite auto strike was not credible.

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