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Taxi, auto strike leads to chaos in Mumbai

Last updated on: June 22, 2010 17:35 IST

Taxi, auto strike leads to chaos in Mumbai

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Commuters in Mumbai had a harrowing time on Tuesday after the 80,000-odd taxis and around 1 lakh auto rickshaws that ply in the metropolis went off the roads demanding fare hike.

There was some respite for Mumbaikars when the strike was called off in the evening. However, the prospect of soon having to shell out more for their journey left them more to worry about.

"The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA) 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.


Image: A cab driver takes a nap
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
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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.


Image: On strike: Taxis at a parking lot

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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 today's strike, announced that it was being called off following the government proposing fare hike.


Image: People hitch a ride in a goods carrier

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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 black and yellow taxis from Rs 14 to Rs 16.

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 RTO office in Bandra where the meeting was held.


Image: People jostle to enter a crowded public transport bus

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Meanwhile, the Delhi government too hiked auto fares on Tuesday following the increase in the prices 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.


Image: Private taxis made a killing

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