Owing to a 12 hours strike call by the transport operators in Bhubaneswar more than 1.36 lakh auto rickshaws and 10,000 cabs remained off-road on Thursday.
The members of the Auto Chalaka Mahasangha staged a demonstration at different places of the state. The 12-hour strike created difficulty for the commuters across the state of Odisha.
Pramod Sahu an auto driver while speaking to a local news portal told," "We demand revision of fares. There is always a revision of bus fares but light vehicles like taxis and autos are left out. The standard rate for autos was revised in 2008. Now it is 10-years-old and fuel prices are constantly increasing. The minimum rate should be fixed at Rs 10".
The secretary of the Cuttack Auto Driver Association, Nabahan Swain told media, "Due to the insurance that the government has put on us along with the fuel hike it is impossible for us to survive. Passengers are facing problems but we have to look after our problems as well and hence we request a solution from the government. For medical emergency cases, 12 autos are running free of cost, since we do not want them to suffer."
The association slammed the centre and the state government and said that the decision of increasing the fitness tax and insurance premium is making their lives difficult.
Some of the auto drives entered into a scuffle with an Ola driver while he tried to ferry a commuter from one destination to another. Apart from the calling a 12- hour strike the All Odisha Taxi- Auto Mahasangha demanded to constitute a Transport Workers Welfare Board so that they could get justice. To registered their demands through a memorandum and submitted the same to the Chief Minister of the state Naveen Patnaik. The memorandum said, "We demand that a separate Transport Workers Welfare Board should be constituted so that they will get proper justice."
The association has also asked to create a proper fare structure which would increase by keeping the right balance with the soaring fuel price.
The commuters faced extreme difficulty because of the sudden strike. While speaking to a local news portal a commuter said "I had come from Berhampur to submit an important document in a government office. But when I reached here, I saw that there is a strike. I am now facing difficulty in reaching my destination and am sceptical about finishing my work on time."