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Auto-rickshaws off the road in capital city

Staff Reporter
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The three-wheeler operators demand rollback of hike in petroleum prices

TO A HALT: Auto-rickshaws are parked in a stand as they remained off the road in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. — PHOTO: LINGARAJ PANDA
TO A HALT: Auto-rickshaws are parked in a stand as they remained off the road in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. — PHOTO: LINGARAJ PANDA

Government employees, students and general commuters faced a tough time in reaching their workstations on Thursday when thousands of auto-rickshaws went off the road demanding rollback of hike in fuel price.

In other terms, auto-rickshaw operators threatened to increase the fare if decision on hike in fuel prices was not withdrawn. There was a telling impact of dawn-to-dusk strike observed by auto-rickshaw operators on general commuters due to absence of proper government-controlled public transport system in the capital city.

Hundreds of employees in private and government sector, who shuttle between Cuttack and Bhubaneswar on daily basis, were seen painstakingly walking down to their offices from Vani Vihar and Acharya Vihar junctions.

A few town buses were overloaded with passengers. Many elderly people were left behind in the competition to board town buses. In peak office hours during morning and afternoon people, including women and girls, experienced harrowing times in approaching railway station and bus terminals.

“We did not have any option, but to go for hartal to highlight our constraints. We don't want to pass the burden of hike in fuel prices on to general public. On the other hand we cannot afford bearing losses due to upward revision of fuel prices,” said Padman Kumar Samal, general secretary of Bhubaneswar Auto-rickshaw Federation (BAF).

Hike in fare

He said the federation decided to increase Re. 1 in the minimum fare. Moreover, there would be Re. 1 hike in the fare from one junction to another.

The federation also demanded formulation of a separate policy for auto-rickshaw operators. “We want separate parking place, pre-paid counters at bus terminal, railway station and airport and compensation for death of auto-rickshaw drivers in the event of accident,” Mr. Samal said.

About 12,000 auto-rickshaws are plying on roads of Bhubaneswar.


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