New Delhi: The city's auto and taxi unions on Tuesday went on an indefinite strike against app-based taxi services, causing hardship to thousands of commuters, even as the AAP government called the protest "BJP-sponsored".
Commuters were left stranded at various place including railway stations, ISBTs, airport and metro stations due to the strike called by Joint Action Committee formed by 20 auto and taxis (yellow-black) unions.
The Committee claimed about 85,000 auto-rickshaws and 15,000 yellow-black taxis went off roads due to the strike.
Rajendra Soni, member of the JAC, said the strike will continue till the city government takes strict action against the "operations of Ola and Uber which don't have permits from the transport department to ply in the national capital".
Around 10 members of the JAC will sit on a hunger strike outside the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's official residence on Wednesday.
At New Delhi Railway station, some drivers were spotted preventing a taxi from ferrying a passenger. Some protesters were seen indulging in such practice at places like railway and metro stations.
Rajesh Sharma, who with his sister Rekha arrived at New Delhi Railway Station from Patna this morning, said he waited for one-and-half-hour but could not find a single auto or taxi to reach his uncle's house in East Delhi's Patparganj.
In view of the strike, the Delhi government has deployed additional 300 buses from ISBTs and Railway stations.
The DTC said, "All regional and depot managers are on line in their respective regions to ensure smooth operation of buses in Delhi and NCR." It has also issued a toll free number (1800118181) for any kind of enquiry regarding DTC buses.
"The operations of Uber and Ola are illegal as they don't have permits to run their taxis in Delhi but despite that the government is allowing them to take away our livelihoods.
"The government has assured us on several occasions to take action against these services but so far they have not," said Soni, whose unions - Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union and Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh - are backed by RSS.
Kishan Verma, president of All Delhi Auto-Taxi Transport Congress Union (ADATTCU), said drivers of yellow-black taxis and auto-rickshaws have been asked not to ply their vehicles tomorrow as well.
Delhi Transport Minister Satyendar Jain called the strike "BJP-sponsored" and said despite requesting the Lt Governor and the Delhi Police Commissioner, no appropriate arrangements were made to ensure commuters don't face problem while using public transport.
"The strike has been managed by the BJP. It is BJP sponsored. Delhi Transport Department yesterday wrote to Delhi Police Commissioner to deploy cops at bus stops, railway stations. There were mischief elements that prevented auto and taxi drivers from plying their vehicles," he said.