More than 1.30 lakh autorickshaws in Bangalore and Mysore are set to go off the roads for 24 hours from Sunday midnight, with their drivers and owners demanding that the state government reduce the tax on auto LPG.
Repeated hikes in fuel prices have endangered livelihoods of auto drivers, but the recent sudden increase of Rs 11 per litre of CNG had come as a mortal blow, M Manjunath, president, Adarsha Auto Drivers Union, told reporters.
"Meters of majority autorickshaws are yet to be calibrated as per the fare hike announced on December 24. The price of auto LPG was Rs 54.58 when the government agreed for the fare hike.
Now, the price of auto LPG has been increased by Rs 11 per litre,'' Manjunath said, and declared that the strike would continue if the fare hike was withdrawn.
While around 1.10 lakh autorickshaws are set to go off the roads in Bangalore city from Sunday midnight, around 20,000 autorickshaws will be off the roads in Mysore. "The authorities concerned are yet to give their nod for implementing the fare hike in Mysore on par with Bangalore,'' said BT Raj, general secretary, Autorickshaw Drivers Organisations United Struggle Committee.
The last auto fare hike was effected in January 2012, with the minimum fare going up to Rs 20 from Rs 17, and the per-km fare going up to Rs 11 from Rs 9.
With no warning, the authorities increased the fare on December 24, 2013, with the minimum face going up to Rs 25 and the per-km fare rising to Rs 13 from Rs 11. However, before the auto drivers could celebrate the increase, came the shocking blow of Rs11-a-litre hike.
Thousands of autorickshaw drivers are expected to gather at the Freedom Park in Bangalore on Monday morning to discuss their problems and submit memoranda to the governor and the chief minister.
Auto drivers’ demands
Reduction in tax on auto fuel
Canceling of cases booked by traffic police through simputers
Houses for auto drivers through BDA and state housing board
Digital meters free of cost for autos with two-stroke engines
Loans for buying autorickshaws
Scrapping of rule making 8th standard pass compulsory for DL
Separate welfare board for auto drivers and senior citizens' pensions for them