Meru Cabs, the largest fleet cab operator — caught in the strike by its Sena-led union Meru Chalak Sena — have lessened the number of vehicles and are also threatening to stop services in Mumbai. Normally, Meru has about 1,500 cabs plying on the roads daily although 2,090 cabs are registered with the transport department.
“Possibly, Meru has returned permits they had taken on lease to the respective holders,” said an RTO official. “They are giving reasons like drivers aren’t trained enough or issues with the vehicle for the number to go down,” said a Transport official.
But the Meru administration refuted all allegations. “We have over 2,000 permits on lease. The off-road vehicles are under maintenance or drivers are on leave and hence, only 1,500 vehicles are on roads,” said Siddhartha Pahwa, CEO, Meru Cabs.
The strike called by the Shiv Sena-led Meru Chalak Sangh will be entering its sixth day today and the administration is blaming Meru Chalak Sena of threatening the drivers.
“Several drivers have called us saying that they are being threatened by the union as they want to get back to work,” said Pahwa.
However, Union leader Sambhaji Bhosale begs to differ. “The Meru administration has been harassing the drivers,” he claims. “The strike is on peacefully. We have also asked the police to assist in talks with the administration.”
In last five days, Meru has suffered losses of Rs 45 lakh per day. There have been around 30 cases of violence with vehicles being damaged or drivers beaten up. As many as 20 drivers have been suspended from the union for instigating thestrike.
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