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Auto-rickshaw strike affects commuters

Bhubaneswar: Commuters in the capital city were in for a harrowing time on Tuesday as all the auto-rickshaws went off the road in response to a 12-hr strike call given by several auto-rickshaw unions in the capital protesting against the recent fuel price rise and cap on cooking gas decision by the union government.

Hundreds of passengers including college students and office goers who largely depend on these ‘convenient’ three wheeled vehicles for their daily transport, were seen stranded on the roads. The plying of 70-80 city buses under centre-sponsored Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme however could not compensate an estimated 5,000 auto rickshaws those remained off the roads.

Angry over the move some passengers vented their anger. “We have no idea when these people are going on strike. This must be well informed before hand, so that we would have made our own arrangements” a passenger rued adding what was need of such as strike after days of diesel price rise announcement.

Another commuter asked, “Why the unions are calling for a strike against restriction on cooking gas? Are these vehicles run on cooking gas?”

The streets, lanes and by-lanes of the temple city where these three wheelers are seen as a main mode of transport for denizens wore a deserted look on Tuesday. Stray incidents of damaging vehicles by the protesters were too reported.  

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