Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Victory for autocracy as commuters left stranded

Victory for autocracy as commuters left stranded


Express News ServiceFirst Published : 13 Oct 2009 05:08:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 13 Oct 2009 07:43:54 AM IST
BANGALORE: The autorickshaw strike called by various auto drivers’ unions elicited a mixed response from the city’ public.
While some people were cheered up by the rare sight of Bangalore’s unclogged roads, others felt that the inconvenience it caused to their daily life was too costly a price to pay for it. Those commuting regularly by autos were hit hard by the dawn to dusk strike.
Stray autos that took to the roads today charged three times more than the regular fare from a helpless public, who found themselves in no position to argue. Some of the auto drivers, wanting to stay out of sight from their striking colleagues, were seen ferrying passengers, without their uniforms, furtively avoiding more visibl e routes.
The unions also resorted to gundagiri to enforce their diktat by sending out members to ensure that no autos were running. ‘Erring’ drivers ran the risk of being beaten up or having the tires of their vehicles deflated. An auto driver near Okalipuram was roughed up by agitating members of the Jaya Karnataka auto-drivers wing.
Auto drivers were not the only ones fishing in troubled waters by charging extra.
Suresh, who visited a hospital on Millers Road with his sister, told Express that his sister who has a severe legdisability was forced to pay Rs 320 for 10 km in a city taxi.
Vignesh, a student, who had just landed at the railway station, was indifferent: “The strike did not really make a difference as autos normally ask for an exorbitant rate.” The drivers were protesting against the government’s directive to change the colour of their vehicles to green, and enforcing digital meters.
They have also demanded setting up of a welfare fund and protection from the police, who the unions claim, harass its members, by registering false cases against them.

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