Reportedly, the auto rickshaw unions in Pune have announced an indefinite strike near the Regional Transport Office (RTO) in the city Led by Baghtoy Rickshawala Forum.
How Did This Happen?
They are asking for a permanent ban on bike-taxis.
This is not the first time, prior to this another similar strike was called by the autorickshaw drivers on November 28.
That time it was called off shortly after the government promised to resolve their issues by December 10.
On Monday, the organizers of the protest threatened to go on fast unto death to pressurize the government to fulfill their demand of banning bike taxis in Pune.
Earlier late at night, police acted on the autorickshaw drivers who had parked their vehicles to block the road in front of Pune RTO.
Pune police had to go ahead and undertake a forcible clearance of the road in front of Pune RTO yesterday, after hundreds of autorickshaw drivers parked their vehicles on the road and left for home.
To be specific, those who opposed the removal of rickshaws were lathi charged by police.
Not only that several dozen auto rickshaw drivers were detained and taken to Bundgarden Police Station.
Baghtoy Rickshaw Wala Movement Continues
The movement of rickshaw drivers forum ‘Baghtoy Rickshaw Wala’ was headed by Keshav Nanasaheb Kshirsagar.
He announced that they will continue the agitation after having a meeting with Pune Collector Rajesh Deshmukh on Monday.
After the police action, Kshirsagar told the media, “The police have used force and have detained many of our workers. Three of us will tomorrow start a fast unto death until the bike taxi is banned,”.
No auto rickshaws would ply in the city from Monday, said The auto rickshaw unions.
Adding that the reason behind this strike is the bike taxis, which according to the autorickshaw drivers are operating “illegally” and causing a harm to their business.
The autorickshaw unions are demanding action against bike taxis by the RTO department with a demand to permanently suspend their operations.
Keshav Nana Kshirsagar told reporters, “It has become clear that the RTO officials do not have any willpower to take action against the illegal bike taxis. The committee which was formed after our last agitation has not done any work. Hence, we have no option but to resume the agitation,”.
RTO Action Against Bike Taxi
Coming to the RTO, under pressure from the protest by the auto-rickshaw drivers’ union, the RTO ran multiple drives in the last few years against these bike taxi operators, especially Rapido.
In this regard, the transport department seized over a hundred motorcycles of Rapido for a month while imposing a fine of Rs 10,000 on them.
So far, there are more than 1 lakh registered autos in Pune and most of them started in 2017 when the Maharashtra government lifted the ban on the issuance of fresh rickshaw permits.