A day-long transport strike, supported by sections of cab aggregators, cluster buses, auto unions and truckers, against the amended Motor Vehicles Act is likely to throw life out of gear in Delhi-NCR Thursday.
The strike, called by the United Front of Transport Associations (UFTA), comprising around 41 transport associations, will remain in force from 6 am to 10 pm, disrupting the public transport network through the day, UFTA convenor Rajender Kapoor said.
With cabs, autos and buses staying off roads, the Delhi Metro and buses run by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), the fleet of which is down to around 3,796, is likely to struggle to absorb the extra rush. However, not all cluster buses, numbering 1,679 at the moment, will go off the roads.
We had marathon meetings at the offices of both Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday. The CM himself was not present in the meeting for more than five minutes, but we were made to hold parleys with their legal team. But the deadlock could not be resolved, Kapoor said.
Kapoor asked why the Delhi government could not bring down the rates of compoundable offences under the amended Act like some states have done. We know the law was enacted by the Centre, but why is Delhi not doing what is very much under its domain? he said.
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Section 200 of the amended MV Act empowers states to issue a gazette notification for compounding certain offences, while also specifying the ranks of officers empowered to challan various types of violations.
A Delhi government spokesperson said no decision has been taken on revising the rates. On September 11, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot had said the government is not mulling to dilute the penalties, but a decision can be taken to reduce them if the situation warrants it.
On Friday, Kejriwal said: We all know how indisciplined Delhi s traffic is. We all accept that since the implementation (of the Act), Delhi s traffic has improved. Pollution centres are facing long queues because of the fine. We are keeping a watch.
We will see if there is a clause (in the Act) which can cause people to suffer… we have power to reduce that fine, then we will definitely do it, he had said.
Kapoor said the strike won t hit the movement of trucks, as they mostly ply at night.
Around five to six associations of Ola and Uber drivers have extended their support to our strike, he said. The UFTA also demonstrated at Jantar Mantar against the Act during the day.
Apart from protesting against the steep hike in penalties under the Act, transporters have been demanding implementation of social security schemes for drivers of commercial vehicles and their families, along with insurance cover.