Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Auto strike affects commuters

Auto strike affects commuters

Staff Reporter
Drivers say new conditions will make it difficult to run their vehicles
— Photo: K. Gopinathan

TIMELY HELP: Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses were diverted via Bangalore City Railway Station in view of the strike by autorickshaw drivers on Monday.
Bangalore: The dawn-to-dusk strike by autorickshaw drivers affected many commuters on Monday. While many had to opt for Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation bus services to reach their destinations, a few had to arrange for taxis. Many faced difficulty in taking patients to hospitals.

Autorickshaws went off the road between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Among the demands of the drivers include the withdrawal of Government Order to change the colour of autorickshaws from black and yellow to green, no charges for issuance of smart cards and not to make installation of digital meters mandatory.

A driver, R. Suganandan, said it will be difficult for drivers to spend on repainting the vehicles and also install digital meters in the vehicles. “We get an income of around Rs. 5,000 every month. It will be difficult for us to get the vehicles repainted and install digital meters, which comes to around 20,000. The Government is not aware of the fact that we pay monthly instalments to repay loans taken to purchase the vehicles,” he said.

M. Manjunath, president of Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers Union, said the drivers have been asked to pay penalties by the police. “There have been several instances wherein the police have recorded a single offence four times and imposed fine on the drivers,” Mr. Manjunath said and added that the Transport Department has burdened the drivers by asking them to pay Rs. 200 every time they approach for smart card renewal.

Many people found it difficult to reach their offices in the morning. “I had to shell out Rs. 600 for a taxi and reach my office in Whitefield,” said Praveen B, a Human Resource Executive living in Peenya. Others, including M. Bharateesh from Vidyaranapura, chose to work from their houses. A family in Gupta Layout found it difficult to find a vehicle to take their relative to hospital. “My mother has been suffering from diarrhoea and fever. I am waiting for more than an hour for a vehicle,” said R. Sukumar.

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