Auto drivers' strike put life in disarray

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 18, 2013 20:20 hrs

For commuters in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar their daily routine was put in a state of disarray following a three-day strike by the autorickshaw drivers which began on Friday, opposing the steep rise in CNG prices by Adani Gas and state owned GSPC Gas early this week.

The two major providers of CNG in the state had raised the price by over 13 per cent on January 15. GSPC Gas had hiked the CNG prices to Rs 56.90/kg a rise of Rs 6.70, while Adani Gas had increased the rate to Rs 60.15/kg an increase of Rs 7.15. As many as 125,000 autorickshaw drivers from Ahmedabad and Gandhingar went on strike from on Friday, causing discomfort to commuters at the railway station, bus depot and airport.

Also, with over 5000 school van drivers joining with the strike, even the school children had to suffer. Parents had to drop and pick up their children from school as the van drivers too were demanding hike in fares.

Autorickshaw drivers are demanding immediate roll-back of hike in CNG prices by the two companies. If that is not possible they are demanding rise in base fare and fare per kilometer. They claim that the present rate of Rs 11 base fare and Rs 8/km were not viable at such high CNG rates.

"We have been forced to take this step because the government rate committee, which decides on new fares as and when CNG prices go up, came up with an unreasonable fare which is not acceptable to us," said Raju Sirke, convenor of the Ahmedabad Autoricksaw Driver Sangharsh Samiti (AADSS), comprising of 11 different unions.

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