With a sharp hike in CNG prices, auto, cab, and taxi drivers in the city have threatened to go on an ”indefinite strike” from April 18 if the government doesn’t provide subsidy on the fuel or increase the fare.
Associations of auto, cab and taxi drivers will hold protests against the Centre as well as the city government at Jantar Mantar on Friday and at the Delhi Secretariat on April 11 against rise in CNG prices.
Sarvodaya Drivers Welfare Association Ravi Rathor, who claims to have around 4 lakh drivers as members in Delhi-NCR, said that his association will go on an “indefinite strike” if their demands to reduce CNG prices or increase in fare are not fulfilled.
”We are demanding a reduction in CNG rates and if the prices cannot be slashed then the fare should be increased to cope with the price rise.
”There has been no revision in Ola and Uber fares for the last 7-8 years. In the protest tomorrow we will also take a call on an indefinite strike,” Rathor told PTI.
Rajendra Soni, Delhi Auto Rickshaw Sangh’s general secretary, said that the price hike in rates of CNG is ”unprecedented” and it is becoming hard for taxi, cab, and auto drivers to survive.
Around 1 lakh auto rickshaws are currently plying in the national capital.
Soni said that his association has written to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to provide a subsidy of Rs 35 per kg on CNG.
”We will go on an indefinite strike from April 18 if our demand is not met. We have also decided to stage a symbolic protest at the secretariat on April 11 to oppose the price hike,” Soni told PTI.
He said that the representatives of other auto and taxi unions such as the Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union and the All Delhi Auto Taxi Transporters Congress Union will also participate in protests and the strike.
Delhi’s public transport, including cabs, autos, taxis and buses, is majorly CNG driven. CNG prices in the national capital on Thursday were hiked for the second day in a row by Rs 2.50 per kilogram, taking the total increase since March to Rs 12.5 per kg.
CNG in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi now costs Rs 69.11 per kg, up from Rs 66.61 per kg a few days ago, according to the information posted on the website of Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) – the firm which retails CNG and piped cooking gas in the national capital and adjoining cities.
Soni further said that when the city government can provide subsidy on electricity and water, it can afford to give a breather to auto and cab drivers as well.
”The government is giving discount on liquor then why cannot they give subsidy on CNG prices? This is a public welfare decision which the governments should not hesitate to take,” Soni said.
Delhi-NCR Transport Ekta Manch general secretary Shyam Sundar also said that his association opposes the hike in CNG and other fuel prices and demanded that the Centre and the city government reduce the fuel prices.
”We oppose the steep hike in CNG and other fuel prices. They should provide some breather to auto and cab drivers by reducing the rates. We will soon take a call about the future course of action,” Sundar said.
The increase in CNG prices follows an overall hike by Rs 10 per litre in petrol and diesel prices in the past 16 days, and a Rs 50 per cylinder jump in the LPG rates.