Thursday, August 21, 2008

Business as usual despite strike

Business as usual despite strike

Bangalore: It was business as usual in the city, but for the presence of fewer autorickshaws on city roads. Despite shortage of about 40,000 autos that participated in the all-India strike called by CITU and other workers’ unions, commuters didn’t face much hardship on Wednesday.
The auto strike, coupled with the stir called by workers’ unions, bank and LIC employees, did not inconvenience citizens. Even as two auto unions — Auto Rickshaw Drivers Union (ARDU) and Adarsha Auto Drivers Union (AADU) — participated in the bandh, several autos were seen plying on the road, providing relief to commuters.
However, auto drivers at bus stands and railway stations either quoted exorbitant rates or refused to ferry passengers, inconveniencing those who travelled into the city.
To compensate for the auto shortage, BMTC allotted 183 extra buses, which plied from JP Nagar, Koramangala, City market, Vijayanagar and Outer Ring Road to Majestic. BMTC chief traffic manager (operations) Dastagir Sharief said night-service buses were doubled to 200 and extra buses deployed in directions that witness heavy rush.
Private taxi operators, including members of the Karnataka City Taxi Owners (Controllers) Association, did not join the strike, said T Prabhakar, its president.
A rally from Minerva Circle to Raj Bhavan, organized by CITU and other workers’ unions, caused traffic jams. Traffic was also affected by a CITU rally in Bannappa Park on KG Road.
The city has about 75,000 autos and over 1.5 lakh people depend on them for livelihood. Rudramurthy, vice-president of the 18,000-member ARDU, termed the strike a success and said all its members participated.
“We’ve submitted our memorandum to officials and hope effective measures will be taken,’’ he added.
Manjunath, president of AADU, which has about 20,000 members, said the government should address their issues immediately. AADU claims automated registration of cases and those filed on Simputer records lead to unnecessary harassment of auto drivers, and wants them closed. The union also seeks yellow ration cards for auto drivers and houses built and allotted to them.


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