Taxi, auto strike ends in Mumbai, Delhi hikes fare
Hours after about 80,000 taxis and a lakh auto rickshaws went off the roads demanding fare hike, the Maharashtra government has proposed to increase auto fares by Rs 2 in the first kilometre and by Rs 1.50 for every subsequent kilometre.
"The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority is expected to announce a formal decision in the backdrop of CNG price rise. We have proposed basic fare increase from Rs 9 to Rs 11 and Rs 5 to Rs 6.5 for every subsequent kilometre," Minister for Transport Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil told media persons in Mumbai.
The decision on the auto fare hike is expected on Wednesday, a Transport department official said.
Auto unions are demanding that the minimum fare for rickshaws be increased by Rs 6 to Rs 15 and Rs 8 for every subsequent kilometre. Rickshaws currently charge Rs 9 as minimum fare.
Terming the strike as illegal, Vikhe-Patil said it should be called off before any talk can be held. He was speaking after a meeting of the sub-committee appointed by the state government with the auto unions and transport officials.
Meanwhile, Nitesh Rane, whose Swabhiman Sanghatana gave the call for Tuesday's strike, announced that the strike was being called off after the government proposed fare hike.
On taxi fare hike, the minister said the MMRTA would convene a meeting this week and take a final decision.
The taxi union is asking for a hike in the minimum fare of regular taxis from Rs 14 to Rs 16. Auto and taxi union leaders would meet transport department officials later in the day.
After Tuesday's meeting, there were clashes between rival union members over claiming credit for the fare hike. Some union members and media persons were roughed up outside the RTO office in Bandra where the meeting was held.
Delhi Govt hikes auto fares
The Delhi government too hiked auto fares on Tuesday following the increase in the price of CNG.
The minimum fare for autorickshaws will be increased from Rs 10 for the first kilometre to Rs 19 for the first two kilometres.
Subsequently, the charge per kilometre will be Rs 6.50 as against Rs 4.50 earlier. Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely made the announcement at a press conference in New Delhi. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit justified the decision, saying that the rise in prices of natural gas had left the government with no option but to heed to the demand of the auto unions for an increase in fare.
Video: Abhishek Mande