Rickshaw strike doesn't thrill majority of unions

Apr 17, 2012, 07:40 IST | Sukirt D. Gumaste

Owners, drivers complain strike affected their income

Commuters were not the only ones inconvenienced by the one-day autorickshaw strike yesterday, as a majority of autorickshaw unions also did not approve of the strike. Rickshaw owners and drivers said that the strike affected their day’s income and Rickshaw Panchayat did not consider the constraints before announcing the strike.

Aarati Halbe, a commuter, said, “Autorickshaw strikes have become a regular activity in the city. It is causing
inconvenience mainly to senior citizens and students and not any politician or decision maker. I had to postpone my appointments as a result of the strike. In any case a strike cannot be the option.”

Many people, few autos: Several people crowd around an autorickshaw in the city yesterday, when a strike by rickshaw operators hit normal life. pic/Imzanglu Aier 

It is being said that lack of co-ordination between the different rickshaw unions is directly affecting the common people. “In the current scenario, excessive fare will decrease the number of passengers. If the fare goes too high, people will opt to use their own vehicles or other modes of transport. While organising the strike, Rickshaw Panchayat has not asked or considered inputs from our union. However, as a sign of respect to Baba Adhav, a senior workers’ leader, we obeyed the one-day strike. We are not going to accept an indefinite strike,” said the president of one of the rickshaw unions.

Rikshaw Panchayat has demanded a Rs 5 hike for the first kilometre and Re 1 per kilometre subsequently.

“A Rs 5 hike for the first kilometre is totally impractical. We are against the compulsion of elect-ronic meters, but regular fare hikes will affect our business,” said one rickshaw driver on condition of anonymity.

Nitin Pawar, convener of Rickshaw Panchayat said that the state government has not responded to yesterday’s strike and not called any meeting with the unions.

“An informal meeting is expected to be held with MLAs on the April 22, which is the annual day of the Rickshaw Panchayat. At that meeting we will raise our issues and further action will be taken thereafter,” Pawar said. 

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