Several thousands of autorickshaws and taxis across the country are expected to stay off the roads on Tuesday as a mark of their protest against the proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act.
The strike, called for by the All India Motor Transport Organisation (AIMTO), will be supported by most transport workers unions except those affiliated with the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu. Nearly 1.5 lakh autorickshaws are expected to take part in the strike in the state according to reports, thus forcing school children to rely on government buses to commute from their homes to school and back.
The main demand of those who are staying off the roads is for the Centre to withdraw the amendments proposed to the Motor Vehicles Act.
The organisers of the strike said that the proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act seek to monopolise the motor vehicle industry. Another concern of the vehicle operators is that once the amendments are accepted, the Transport Department will be taken over by corporate companies, which will be in charge of the registration and fitness certificate processes.
M Sampath, the General Secretary of the All Autorickshaw Unions Federation also said that their protest is for the reduction in the insurance premium rates. Since the autos have minimal claims every year, the rising insurance premium rates every year is not fair, he told The Hindu. He also emphasised for fixing the fares for application-based cab services like Ola and Uber.
The state Transport Department, however, ensured least possible disruption to normal lives of the people. A senior official from the Department told the Times of India that the depot managers across the state have been instructed to not grant leave to drivers and conductors on Tuesday.
Besides passenger transport, goods movement is also expected to be hit by the strike. Automobile showrooms and driving schools will also be a part of the strike on Tuesday. Some unions have also announced that they would stage a dharna in front of the Head Post Office on Anna Salai on Tuesday, pressing for their demands to be met.