Millennium Post

Six-hour strike by auto drivers irks citizens

A six-hour long strike by auto-rickshaw drivers on three different routes on Monday caused massive inconvenience to commuters.

It is learnt that the drivers had purposefully gone on strike as a strategy when the state transport department is introducing auto-rickshaw policy to streamline the problems that people face due to plying of the vehicle.

More than 100 auto-rickshaws on three routes in areas including Lake Town, Salt Lake and Ahiritola remained off route since Monday morning.

They alleged that they were unnecessarily being harassed by the police.

When contacted, a police officer said that police perform their duty. “It’s not only for 

an auto-rickshaw, anyone not following traffic norms and other guidelines gets pulled up,” the police officer said adding that if police stop taking step against errant auto-rickshaw drivers then it will cause more trouble to commuters.

On Monday morning, hundreds of people were found standing in queues at auto-rickshaw stands of all the three routes.

Later, they came to know that the auto-rickshaw drivers were on a strike. They were harassed since they found it difficult to get any other vehicle in order to reach their destination on time as the auto-rickshaws remained off road.

College and office goers got delayed. The drivers refused to ply the vehicles despite being requested repeatedly.

The drivers protested against the high fines that police slap on them for flouting traffic norms. Interestingly, the drivers claimed that they were sometimes forced to flout traffic norms.

The police, however, claimed that such accusations didn’t stand as the police are bound to take action even if they flout norms for the first time.

Finally, the drivers started plying their vehicles on Monday afternoon after a strike of around 6 hours following a meeting with some senior police officers.

Ranjita Dey, a resident of Salt Lake area, said sudden decision to keep auto-rickshaws off road without giving any prior notice caused harassment to commuters. “Stringent action should be taken against auto-rickshaw drivers and owners for going for a strike all of a sudden. Their driving licences and route permits should be cancelled so that no other driver goes for a strike without taking steps to give the information at least to daily passengers on the route,” she said.
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