Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 5:
The commuters in Odisha capital and elsewhere had a harrowing time today as the All Odisha Auto Chalak Mahasangha observed a dawn-to-dusk state-wide stir protesting against the app-based services. The taxi drivers’ association has extended its support to the strike.
According to reports, around 1.5 lakh members of the auto-rickshaw drivers’ body from across the state have joined the stir.
While the commuters were left in a lurch as the means of transport was off roads, the members of the association allegedly resorted to violence and broke the glasses of the several vehicles. Commissionerate police arrested four persons in this connection.
“The situation is largely peaceful in Bhubaneswar. Violence and vandalism were reported in the Master Canteen area and four persons have been arrested in this connection. They will be forwarded to court today. We are keeping a close watch on the situation, action would be initiated against troublemakers,” Bhubaneswar DCP Satyabrata Bhoi said.
The 12-hour band began from 6 am today following which the auto-rickshaws were off the roads in the capital city and other parts of the state. The association is protesting the entry of foreign app-based auto and taxi service providers into the state which they alleged that it would affect their prospects.
The stir was called off in Cuttack around noon, reports said.
The three-wheelers were off the roads in Pilgrim town and thousands of tourists were affected by it. Visitors were seen walking down the roads to reach their destination.
“I didn’t know that auto-rickshaws have gone on a strike. The 12-hour strike has caused inconvenience to me as well as various other tourists,” a visitor said.
The protestors have hit the road demanding provision of social security to auto-rickshaw drivers, a special auto transport policy implemented by the state government, a uniform rate chart for all service providers in the field and solution to the auto parking problem.
Meanwhile, the association suspended its stir post noon after discussion with state Transport Minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi here.