Udaipur: Commuters were hit hard throughout the day on Tuesday as over 5,000 auto-rickshaws went off the roads. The strike was to mark their protest against the private taxi-cab services which they claimed are snatching their livelihood. The services remained suspended till 5 pm which affected people from the lower middle class, especially those travelling to hospitals, work places, schools, etc.
Residents felt the pinch of the strike early in the morning when ‘auto-uncles’ did not turn up to pick the children to school. Parents were seen rushing to drop children on their vehicles while a similar commotion was evident in the afternoon to pick them back from school. Meanwhile, the absence of the yellow-black auto rickshaws from roads troubled the visitors and locales equally for auto services are the major means of transport in the tourist city.
The auto rickshaw unions raised slogans and held a march from town hall to the collectorate premises. “Ola, Uber, Jugnu companies- Quit Udaipur’ was the cry raised during the long procession through the busy streets.
“We auto-rickshaw drivers pay tax of Rs 38 per trip to the government. We hardly earn few hundred rupees after a tiring and strenuous day. But the government is giving us a step-motherly treatment by promoting the private companies,” said Ashfaq Mohammad, a union representative. “For a trip if we are charging Rs 50, the private taxis offer the customer the luxury of an AC car at a lower cost of Rs 45, which is not possible for us to give. They are taking away our customers and our families are being forced to live a wretched life,” said Ghanshyam Jat, another driver.