City public transport to go haywire as CNG dealers, demanding a hike in their commission, are set to go on an indefinite strike from tomorrow
For once, the auto and taxi drivers would be telling the truth when they say 'gas nahi hai', if the compressed natural gas (CNG) dealers go on strike from tomorrow and this time too, it will be the common man who will suffer as most of the city would come to a standstill.
Out of gas? If dealers enforce the strike across 122 outlets across the
city, there won't be sufficient gas for taxis and autos to ply, sources said.
The industrial action could spiral into a major blow to the city's transport system, as 1.04 lakh autos, 42,000 taxis and around 2,500 BEST buses run on CNG. If dealers enforce the strike across 122 outlets across the city, there won't be sufficient gas for the vehicles.
The Petrol Pump Owners' Association has threatened to go on an indefinite strike from November 2 to press for its demand to increase the commission paid by Mahanagar Gas Ltd (MGL) to the dealers. The hike in commission is expected to drive up the retail prices of the fuel. The dealers want a hike from 87 paise a kg to Rs 2.50 a kg of CNG.
However, an official from MGL washed his hands off the issue saying, "We have valid agreements with oil marketing companies (OMCs) that are responsible for dispensing CNG. The commission paid to the dealers is the sole responsibility of the OMCs and we are not involved in deciding the commission paid to the dealers."
Commenting on the expected strike, A Quadros, the general secretary, Mumbai Taximen's union, said, "Once the strike is called, the cars will be able to sustain on the gas in their tanks for a day or two. But problems will arise and escalate, if the strike continues for more than a day or so."
And auto unions in the suburbs share the same skepticism about the strike. "Commuters will have to bear the brunt of the strike in the days to come. Auto drivers need to refill their tanks every day and if the strike is enforced, autos will eventually stop plying on the streets," said Shashank Rao, member of the Mumbai Auto Rickshawmen's Union.
Meanwhile, a BEST official claimed that it would not be affected by the strike as buses run both on diesel and CNG and that they have an agreement with MGL for the buses. "We get CNG from MGL for the buses and it is for them to arrange for our CNG supply," said BEST spokesperson, N Walawalkar.
No of outlets that would provide CNG during strike
The number of rickshaws that run on CNG
The number of taxis that run on CNG