KOCHI: The autorickshaw and taxi strike called for by autorickshaw-taxi workers coordination committee on Thursday has affected normal like in the city. Many people were stranded at railway stations and bus stands as auto and taxi drivers denied to go even for emergency trips, commuters alleged. The union leaders said that the strike was complete in the district except in rural pockets such as Perumbavoor, Muvattupuzha and Paravur.
They added that around 6000 autos and taxis have participated in the strike from 6am to 6pm on Thursday. The strike was called for demanding an increase in fares. The drivers have carried out protest marches in various places in the city. Commuters including foreigners were severely affected by the one day strike.
The Kerala State Autorickshaw Drivers Union (KSADU)-INTUC Ernakulam district committee has staged a protest march by pulling autos by rope in the city. The march started from Jose Junction and concluded at Menaka Junction. The march was inaugurated by KSADU state general secretary Adv K X Xavier.
“An increase in fares has become imperative due to the spiraling costs of spare parts and fuel. It is high-time that Justice Ramachandran Committee recommendations should be implemented in the state. If not, the strike will be intensified in the future,” he said.
Around 100 auto, taxi drivers have participated in the march. Union leaders P B Latheesh, P A Jamal, Sakkeer Thammanam, R Santhosh, P V Joy, Ramachandra Babu, Navas Kadavil, T C Sunny also spoke. Another protest march was carried out at Palluruthy by the drivers.
“The state government has agreed to hike the minimum fare to `20. The drivers are going through a hard time due to increased cost in operations. If the state government moves away from the stand we will go for an indefinite strike in the immediate future,” said KSADU district president Rasheed Thanath.