160,000 taxi, autorickshaw drivers on strike in Mumbai

October 16th, 2008 - 5:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Oct 16 (IANS) Nearly 55,000 cabs and 105,000 autorickshaws went off the roads in here Thursday to protest the Maharashtra government move to phase out old vehicles.According to Bombay Autorickshawmen Union secretary Anil Sawant, the state government last month abruptly issued orders cancelling the licences of nearly 15,000 cabs, which were more than 25 years old to cut down pollution. The vehicles have to be phased out by Dec 4.

There is now a proposal to cancel licences of nearly 65,000 autorickshaws, which are more than eight years old, he said.

Sawant said that while the cabbies are not opposed to the phasing out of old vehicles, they needed time and financial help from the state government to comply with the requirements.

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has convened a delegation of leaders of various unions later Thursday to find a solution to the issue.

In the meantime, Mumbai commuters, office-goers, school and college students took it in their stride by patiently queuing up for the BEST public buses.

Some shared private cars to reach their places of work from the distant suburbs to the various commercial hubs around the city.

Some of those on strike damaged around half a dozen taxis which ventured on to the roads despite the strike call, according to Bombay Taximen’s Associaton secretary M.N. Tiwari.

The Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), to minimise inconvenience caused to air passengers, deployed courtesy coaches from the airport to the Andheri railway station, a spokesman said.

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