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Auto, taxi unions offer 15-day window for rules

New Delhi: Transport facilities at railway stations and IGI airport returned to normal late on Thursday evening after auto and taxi unions called off their strike. However, the unions have given the government 15 days to frame rules for app-based cabs failing which they will start an indefinite strike.
Till 6pm, autorickshaws and app-based cabs were not allowed to enter the railway station premises, leaving several passengers stranded. Most passengers had to walk out of the station to get some form of transport.

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Police vans were deployed at railway stations to keep a vigil on union members after violence was reported during the first two days of the strike.
All Delhi Taxi Union secretary Prem Jeet Singh said, “We called off the strike around 6pm. We met transport minister Satyendar Jain in the afternoon. He told us that banning app-based cabs or making changes to rules was the Centre’s prerogative.”

“But when we went to meet Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, he said app-based cabs come under the ambit of the state government. We met Jain met again in the evening and he assured us of framing stricter norms after which we allowed the entry of cabs and autos at railway stations,” Singh added.

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Till the strike was called off, commuters continued to be harassed and fleeced by cab and auto drivers, who were still plying despite the strike. “I am from Punjab and unaware of the places in Delhi. A cycle-rickshawallah finally helped me out. He told me to take the Metro to my destination, Akshardham,” said Prakash Lal, a businessman who had come to Delhi to see his relatives.

However, the auto drivers who were plying despite the strike were bullied by union members who confiscated their vehicle keys and asked the passengers to get down midway.
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“The union members caught me in the morning and forced the woman passenger to get off my auto. They snatched away my keys and returned it only after 30 minutes with a warning not to drive,” said Maan Singh, an auto driver who plies in south Delhi’s Chhatarpur area.
For the past two days, more than 2,400 kaali-peeli taxis at both the domestic and international terminals of IGI airport had been standing still. Dayanand Yadav, joint secretary of the taxi union at T3, said, “The government has met six of our demands in writing, including badges for cab and auto drivers and reviewing fares. We regret the inconvenience caused to passengers in the past two days.”

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