Autorickshaw drivers in Kozhikode city go on token strike

They hold Kozhikode Corporation responsible for inadequate parking slots and comfort stations

September 26, 2022 06:46 pm | Updated 08:02 pm IST - Kozhikode

Passengers waiting near the Kozhikode railway station where only a few auto-rickshaws operated services due to a token strike by a section of the drivers on Monday.

Passengers waiting near the Kozhikode railway station where only a few auto-rickshaws operated services due to a token strike by a section of the drivers on Monday. | Photo Credit: K Ragesh

Seeking more parking spots and comfort stations, a section of autorickshaw drivers resorted to a token strike in Kozhikode city on Monday. All drivers’ unions, except the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), came up in support of the agitation claiming that the civic administrators and the police were cold-shouldering their demands.

The drivers, who also staged a dharna in front of the KSRTC terminal, held the Kozhikode Corporation authorities responsible for the inadequate number of parking slots for autorickshaws. They alleged that the police were torturing drivers in the name of illegal parking in areas where the Corporation had reportedly failed to find place for authorised parking slots.  

“We could enlist the support of over 5,000 drivers for the token strike that actually paralysed autorickshaw service in the city on Monday. There were even drivers owing allegiance to the CITU who expressed solidarity with our protest,” said K. Prajosh, convener of the drivers’ coordination committee in the city. He also warned that drivers would go ahead with their indefinite strike plan if the Corporation failed to address their demands. 

The protesters alleged that the city did not have sufficient parking slots to accommodate the existing number of over 4,000 autorickshaws with city service permits. Without addressing the existing parking woes, it would not be fair to consider 3,000 more city permits, they said.

Some drivers took exception to the alleged lack of comfort stations near major autorickshaw stands in the city. According to them, drivers were in a situation where they had to depend on toilets of hotels and restaurants. 

Vadakara MLA K.K. Rema opened the protest that drew the participation of about 12 different drivers’ unions including the Indian National Trade Union Congress, Swathantra Thozhilali Union, and the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh. She said the issues raised by the drivers’ community would be brought to the attention of the State government. 

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