Why do the Auto Rickshaw drivers go on strike?
The reasons are many. The common one is for increase in fare. This time the Auto drivers went on strike to protest against RTO’s action against Auto Rickshaws, whose meters were tampered. Now this is innovative, going on strike to protest against tampered meters being removed. Few weeks ago, I am sure these same Auto Rickshaw drivers would have supported Anna Hazare on his fight against corruption. Is this not double standard “It is OK for me to be corrupt, but government officials should not be corrupt”.
|Auto Rickshaw of Mumbai|
The RTO in Mumbai have implemented many measures to curb malpractices by Auto and Taxi drivers. Some are.
1. Taking seriously complaints from Commuters against Auto and taxi drivers.
2. Providing toll free number and internet provision to public for filing complaint against Auto Rickshaw and Taxi drivers.
3. Checking meters periodically to ensure meters are not being tampered.
Most of the Taxi drivers will only take you to places they want to go and it’s very common to see them refusing passengers. This is against the rules; however this continues to occur in Mumbai.
|Auto Rickshaw Driver|
Now let’s talk from the point of view of Auto Rickshaw driver.
There are 60,000 Auto Rickshaws in Western suburbs out of which 20,000 belong to union. Most of the Auto Rickshaw drivers are poor and there is very less done by the government to better their life. Auto rickshaw drivers in other major cities like Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, etc will not even use their meter and quote exorbitant amount for a ride, especially if you are from out of town. Where as Auto rickshaw drivers in Mumbai always charge customers based on the meter reading.
Driving in the traffic jam and polluted roads of Mumbai is not easy for these drivers. The pot holes in the road cause them to have back problem and health issues. Besides they are doing a risky job, as their life is always at risk of speeding cars, buses and trucks and get beaten up by public in case of accident.
Although their strike is not justified, we need to also look at the human aspects of the life and the condition under which these drivers operate. Although cheating is not justified, we need to still look at all aspects. Most of the citizens in Mumbai have expressed their angry view on the strike, but has anyone listened to the other side? (Auto Drivers).
|Meter used in Mumbai for calculating fare|