Mumbai taxi and auto strike begins

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taxisA taxi union has called a strike on 15 June in Mumbai against private cab aggregators like Uber and Ola, much to the inconvenience of local commuters.

“The strike will end at 5 pm and if our demands are not met, then the union would be forced to launch an agitation,” said KK Tiwari, president, Swabhiman Union, Mumbai.

The Swabhiman Union claims it has 18,000 auto owners and 12,000 taxi owners as its members.

“We had petitioned the Maharashtra government, but of no avail. We were not called for any discussions, which is why we plan to go ahead with the agitation,” Tiwari said.

Nitish Rane, leader of Swabhiman taxi union and MLA, called the one-day taxi and auto strike opposing the “illegal” private taxi aggregators.

Earlier, the union had dashed off a letter to Maharashtra Transport Commissioner, with a copy to state Transport Minister Diwakar Raote and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, on June 9, demanding a ban on entry Uber, Ola and Meru Plus.

Incidentally, Tiwari found through an RTI application, that many private cab aggregators don’t have relevant permits from the transport department.

Nitish Rane has been vocal on social networking site Twitter against private taxi aggregators and showed support for Mumbai’s ‘Kaali Peelis’. Calling the black and yellow cabs the identity of Mumbai, he tweeted he would not let them fade away. However, according to Times of India, the biggest union led by Al Quadros has opposed the strike and appealed to all taxis and auto drivers to come out and ply their trade “fearlessly”.

Meanwhile, the largest auto union led by Shashank Rao has said, it too will go on strike, from 17 June.

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