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Delhi Auto Drivers, Cabbies to Join Strike AAP’s Assurance on Fare Revision

Ronak Chhabra |
The drivers have demanded a 50% subsidy on CNG and fixed fares for vehicles associated with Ola and Uber.
Delhi Auto Drivers, Cabbies to Join Strike AAP’s Assurance on Fare Revision

Image Courtesy: NDTV

New Delhi: Unions representing auto drivers and cabbies in the national capital will go on an indefinite strike on April 18 to protest the sharp hike in fuel prices even as the Delhi government has announced the formation of a committee to consider some of their demands.

Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot announced on Friday the formation of a committee to consider fare revision in a time-bound manner. In a tweet, Gahlot said that the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government understands the concerns of the auto and taxi unions in the city.

Due to the rising fuel prices, auto/taxi unions have been demanding revision of fares. @ArvindKejriwal govt. understands their concerns. A committee shall soon be constituted by [the] transport Dept for this purpose, which shall furnish its recommendations in a time-bound manner,” Gahlot tweeted.

The Delhi government’s decision comes in the wake of the spiralling fuel prices of petrol, diesel and CNG. The price of CNG, which is mostly used by commercial drivers, was hiked recently by Rs 2.5 and now costs Rs 71.61/kg in the city. This is the third price hike in April and 11th since March 7, according to media reports.

Hundreds of drivers in New Delhi had staged a protest at the Delhi Secretariat earlier this week. Among their major demands include a 50% subsidy on CNG along with an introduction of a provision that allows the Delhi government to set fares for vehicles associated with app-based cab aggregators, including Ola and Uber.

The formation of a committee will not “solve our problems”, Sanjay Samrat, president, Delhi Taxi Tourist Transporters and Tour Operators Association, told Newsclick on Saturday. “Our demands are very clear. We want a subsidy on CNG because the new rates have broken the back of auto and cab drivers. The government must soon announce a decision in this regard.”

Samrat added that there are around 20,000 black-yellow taxis and more than 8,000 tourist transporters in the city—all of whom will join the strike for two days. “We will decide on extending the strike later,” he further said. According to media reports, bus operators in the city have announced to join the strike as well.

Meanwhile, Kamaljeet Gill, president, Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi, told Newsclick that his union has given a call for an “indefinite strike” which will be joined by “lakhs of Ola and Uber” drivers in the city.

Recently, Uber India had increased the trip fares in the National Capital Region by 12%. Gill said that the increment is “not enough” as the commission rates are  “very high”, making it difficult for the drivers to “survive”. “We want the government to bring in a provision to set fares for Ola and Uber cabs. We also want the government to cap the commission that these companies can charge at 10%,” he said adding that the drivers pay up to 25%-30% in commissions to the cab aggregators.

Gill also reiterated the demand for revision of auto fares in the national capital immediately. Auto fares in Delhi were last revised in 2019 and officially notified in 2020. Currently, the auto fare is Rs 25 for the first two km and thereafter Rs 8 per km for every additional km.

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