Commuters may hope for some respite as a section of Mumbai’s autorickshaw drivers, belonging to unions backed by the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, have decided against participating in a strike Monday.
Leader of Mumbai Autorickshawmen’s Union Sharad Rao last week decided to stick to its plan of a state-wide autorickshaw strike Monday even as the city’s transport authority Friday decided to increase fares for the first 1.6 km by a rupee, effective from April 20.
Haji Arafat Sheikh of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena-led Vahatuk Sena said: “We shall not be participating in the strike as the transport department has already approved a hike in the fare.”
Sheikh also assured that autorickshaw drivers from the union will be present at all busy spots during the rush hours.
The Shiv Sena-led Rickshaw Chalak Malak Sena also opposed the strike. “We have asked our drivers to not be intimidated by the tactics of the Sharad Rao-led union,” a member of the association said.
Looking at the non-cooperation by most parties, Rao appeared to be back-tracking when he said that it was only a day-long token strike.
K.K. Tiwari, leader of the Swabhimaan Sanghatna, said that it was pointless to go on a strike now that the fare had been hiked. “It is important to avoid a strike now as it will only end up hurting the drivers who lose their daily earnings,” he said.