Autorickshaw unions to meet finance minister today over 'unfair' fare

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SummaryThe autorickshaw operators in Ahmedabad, who were on a three-day strike since February 23, are going to meet state Finance Minister Nitin Patel on Monday.

The autorickshaw operators in Ahmedabad, who were on a three-day strike since February 23, are going to meet state Finance Minister Nitin Patel on Monday. They have been demanding hike in minimum fare due to recent increase in CNG price in the state. The autorickshaw operators will also hold a meeting in the city to discuss their future course of action after their representatives’ negotiations with the minister on the same day.

The autorickshaw operators’ demands include increase in minimum fare from Rs 11 to Rs 15 and increase of Re 1 from Rs 8 per km to Rs 9 per km. The government has already offered a hike of 50 paise per km but the autorickshaw unions have declined it.

Harihar Mishra, joint convener of the Samanya Auto Rickshaw Chalak Andolan Samili, on Sunday said state Finance Minister Patel had invited the union representatives led by their convener Ashok Panjabi to Gandhinagar on Monday for negotiations. “The minister has called us for a meeting,” he said.

“We have demanded that either the price of CNG be reduced by Rs 5 per kg or we be allowed to charge minimum fare of Rs 15 and running charge of Re 9 per km,” he said. In the previous round of talks, the state government had offered to increase minimum fare by Rs 1 and an increase of 50 paise in the per running km, he said. “But we have declined that offer...we will take that offer only if the government cut CNG price by Rs 5 per kg,” he said.

He said after the meeting with the minister, the union representatives would hold a general meeting in Usmanpura garden to apprise the members of the developments of the day and what course of action would be in the offing in the light of the negotiations.

There are more than 40,000 autorickshaws operating on Ahmedabad roads alone.

Samiti convener Ashok Panjabi, who will lead the delegation to Gandhinagar, said if the negotiation fails, the unions may resort to “jail bharo” stir and take a rallyin Gandhinagar.

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