A transport strike has been called by United Front of Transport Associations (UFTA) in Delhi-NCR region on Thursday, September 18. UFTA, which represents more than 41 transport organisations stated that there would be no private commercial vehicle running on Delhi roads from 6 am to 9.30 pm tomorrow. The metro, DTC and state carriage buses will be running.
Auto rickshaw unions and the kaali-peeli (black and yellow) taxi unions are also a part of the strike. “Of the five or six Uber/Ola unions, three have supported the strike. Two have remained non-committal. They may or may not be on the streets. There will be no cabs at Delhi railway stations from 12 midnight and there wont be any cabs at the airports. The low-floor DTC buses will be running,” said Harish Sabharwal, UFTA Chairperson.
“We do not want to disrupt essential services, so milk vans, ambulances and private vehicles will be running. Vegetable and fruit vans will not be disrupted though the Azadpur Mandi will be shut on Thursday in solidarity with the union,” underscored Sabharwal.
For now it will be a one-day strike, said Sabharwal, but added that they will take a decision on the indefinite strike soon.
Anticipating difficulty for students, more than 10 schools have sent notices that they will be shut. The notices have been sent by Ryan International School, Sri Ram International School, Delhi Public School, Bal Bharti, American School, British School, Air Force and Naval Schools and Guru Harkrishnan Public School. More schools were deciding to declare an off in the wake of the transport strike as the school bus drivers were also a part of the striking unions.
Several industries in Noida have also stated that they will be shut on Thursday.
The strike has been called because talks with both the Delhi government and the central government against the recent increase in traffic fines did not progress. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, which came into effect on September 1, steeply increased the penalty for violations.
After meeting the transport ministry joint secretary Priyank Bharti on Monday, September 16, the UFTA members met a Delhi transport and legal team. The Delhi government informed them that while they were with the transporters, they will look at the legal aspects to check if Delhi CM could reduce the fines or if the Union government had to do it since Delhi Police reports to the Union government.
The demands of the transport unions include the removal of capping liability of insurance companies at Rs 5 lakh, unreasonable increase in presumptive income tax and implementation of social security schemes for families and drivers of commercial vehicles as was committed by the government.