Taxi, auto drivers march for lower fuel prices

Demand that govt. reduce prices or increase fares

February 07, 2018 12:17 am | Updated February 08, 2018 02:12 pm IST - Mumbai

Pinching pockets:  The drivers held a rally to highlight the impact of high prices on their livelihood, near the Suburban Collectorate in Bandra on Tuesday.

Pinching pockets: The drivers held a rally to highlight the impact of high prices on their livelihood, near the Suburban Collectorate in Bandra on Tuesday.

The Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh (RMMS), affiliated to Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), staged a protest against the rise in fuel prices in Bandra on Tuesday.

Protesters gathered outside the Mumbai Suburban Collectorate around 4 p.m. RMMS general secretary Govindrao Mohite addressed the gathering, with the crowd shouting slogans against the Centre.

Those demonstrating included drivers of autorickshaws and black-and-yellow taxis, and those driving cabs for app-based aggregators such as Ola and Uber.

The protesters said they were suffering heavy losses because of the high petrol and diesel prices, and their incomes were insufficient to meet even daily needs.

Mr. Mohite demanded that the government either reduce the prices of petrol and diesel or increase fares to ensure better earning for the drivers. “We will not tolerate the government’s coercive behaviour. We will fight for justice,” he said.

Pre-poll promise

RMMS secretary Sunil Borkar said the ruling parties had promised low fuel prices before coming to power. “Drivers barely have any money to feed their families. They will soon be compelled to commit suicide if the government does not take necessary steps,” Mr. Borkar said.

Mohammed Yakub, leader of the union formed by Ola and Uber drivers under the RMMS, said, “We will keep holding protests and even go on strike if required. We will also use social media to make our demands known to the government.”

A few RMMS members marched to the offices of Suburban District Collector Deependra Singh Kushwah and the District Magistrate. “We have voiced our demands to the Collector, and he has agreed to convey our message to the government,” said Mr. Mohite.

Ola and Uber drivers also expressed anger towards the owners of their cab services. “We have sold our jewellery and houses to pay EMIs. There should be a hike in the fare,” said Raj Tiwari, an Ola driver, said.

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