Auto-drivers on strike against cab aggregators, junked Hakim panel
Mumbai: The day-long statewide strike called by the Mumbai Autorickshaw-Taximen's Union (MAU), the largest auto union in the city, began from midnight here demanding ouster of call center-operated Uber and Ola cabs besides revocation of Maharashtra government's decision to scrap the Hakim panel on auto and taxi fares.
The Union has appealed to 15 lakh autorickshaw men across the state to join the stir, which may hit lakhs of commuters as it claims to have 95 per cent of the auto owners under its wing.
Meanwhile, office of the Transport Commissioner has taken slew of precautionary measures to subdue the impact of the auto strike.
"Apart from allowing private vehicles on the roads for the day, we have also spoken to senior Mumbai police officers who would be keeping vigil over Law and Order situation," Maharashtra Transport Commissioner Sonia Sethi told PTI.
"We have also lined up with BEST and MSRTC buses which would be running extra services to serve the needy people.
Also, we have discussed most issues with unions and have addressed many of them while pending issues are being looked into at priority level," she said.
However, another union called the Mumbai Rickshawmen's Union is not supporting the strike and has demanded proper security for those who would be plying their rickshaws today.
"I put forward our demands to transport officials and they seemed attentive to address our issues, so we did not want to cause further trouble to people in the city considering that schools have recently opened," said Thumpi Kurian, another leader of Mumbai Rickshawmens Union who claims to have got almost 7,000 auto owners under its fleet.
MAU leader Shashank Rao accused Transport Minister Diwakar Raote of taking unilateral decisions in support of taxi aggregators.
"The Transport Minister could have first discussed the issue with us before scrapping the Hakim panel which framed the tariff hike formula for auto and taxi fares," Rao added.
"Here in Mumbai there are as many as 85,000 autos registered with the transport authority out of which 83,000 are our members and all are going off the roads today," he claimed.