ANDHRA PRADESH

Autos off the road as talks fail

HYDERABAD SEPT. 26. Autorickshaws in the twin cities went off the road from Friday midnight on an indefinite strike, demanding fixation of a minimum fare of Rs. 10 and Rs. 5 per km extra and against moves to make digital meters compulsory.

Representatives of the Auto Drivers' Joint Action Committee (ADJAC) and RTA officials sat for discussions, but close to midnight talks failed. While the ADJAC wanted the Government to agree to their demand of fare hike, the Government had, in principle, agreed for a hike to be effected in a structured manner.

On digital meters, the unions said the instruments had failed in Chennai and New Delhi and that they would be unable to afford an expenditure of anywhere between Rs. 6,000 and Rs. 8,000 for them.

The administration is all set to tackle any emergency and avoid inconvenience to the public. The Joint Transport Commissioner, C.L.N. Gandhi, Deputy Commissioner, P. Srinivas, and the RTC Regional Manager, C. Panduranga Murthy, met late on Friday and finalised contingency plans.

The officials said, in addition to the 2,600 buses in the city region, there were 210 spare buses that could be used. Two hundred more buses from Ranga Reddy, Medak, Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar districts would be used. Also, 310 buses hired and operated by the RTC would also be stretched to their full limit, they said.

When contacted, the Transport Commissioner, A. Giridhar, reiterated that auto drivers could not hold the public to ransom. "For proper calibration, digital meters are a must," he said.

Recommended for you