Most autos and cabs will not operate in Karnataka on Thursday after a collective of over 20 unions of auto rickshaw and cab drivers announced that they are going on a strike on November 26. Autos and cabs will not operate in the state from 6am to 6pm on Thursday, according to a statement released by the unions to the media.
Auto and cab drivers will begin a protest march from Bengaluruâ€™s Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station in Majestic to Freedom Park at 10 am. The drivers will gather at Freedom Park for a sit-in protest. They have listed a series of demands from the government, which they say are crucial for their sustenance.
During the lockdown between March and May, cabs and autos were not allowed to operate, leaving several of them without any income. â€śWe have suffered for even a single meal. Now the banks are foreclosing and taking away our cabs and autos as we donâ€™t have enough income to repay the loans or EMI,â€ť said Tanveer Pasha, President of the Karnataka Ola, TaxiForSure and Uber Driversâ€™ Association.
Their demands from the government:
Interest-free loans from the government of Rs 1 lakh for auto drivers and Rs 2 lakh for cab drivers.
Free housing for auto and cab drivers, which should either be taken up by the Bengaluru Development Authority or the Home Department
To waive interest on vehicle loans for the three months of the lockdown and to urge banks not to seize their vehicles.
To reduce the retail price of new cars by 17% and the price of autos by 5%.
For the government to offer a compensation of Rs 25,000 to the families of auto and cab drivers, who died due to COVID-19.
To implement the pricing regulations suggested for cab aggregators by the government in 2016 and introduced a minimum fixed price and taxi metres for app-based cab aggregators.
To issue an order to stop app-based cab aggregates from collective excessive amounts of commission from drivers.
To reduce the GST charge for income generated by auto and cab drivers.
Speaking to TNM, Tanveer Pasha said, â€śThe coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown has affected our families badly. We have not been able to stay afloat even after the lockdown was lifted. Despite this, the government has made no effort to provide us with relief despite many appeals. We have no other option but to strike.â€ť