Transport strike in Delhi/NCR today against amended Motor Vehicles Act
Commuters in Delhi/NCR are likely to face problems on Thursday as a day-long transport strike has been called by the United Front of Transport Associations (UFTA) to protest against the amended Motor Vehicles Act. The outfit is raising its voice against the steep traffic fines which were imposed from September 1. The impact of the strike was seen immediately as several schools remained shut.
First, let's tell you a bit about the Act
Spearheaded by Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, the amended Act hopes to make country's roads safer, by levying heavy fines on traffic offenders. Since its implementation, fines for offenses, like drunk-driving, not wearing a seat belt, and not carrying proper documents, have increased substantially. However, some states, like Gujarat, have decided to reduce fines, while others, like West Bengal, decided against introducing the Act.
From 6 am till 10 pm, commuters will face inconvenience
UFTA, which comprises nearly 41 transport associations, doesn't agree with the heavy fines and called for a strike to lodge a protest. The token strike will remain in force from 6 am to 10 pm, and is bound to affect the daily routine of Delhi/NCR residents. The outfit's convener Rajender Kapoor asked why hasn't Delhi government, led by Arvind Kejriwal, slashed the penalties.
Kapoor added meetings didn't yield any results
"We had marathon meetings at offices of both Gadkari and Kejriwal on Tuesday. The CM himself wasn't present in meeting for more than five minutes, but we were made to hold parleys with their legal team. But the deadlock could not be resolved," he said.
The federation has other demands as well
Apart from a reduction in steep fines, the federation is also demanding benefits like medical facilities, insurance, as well as an increase in free parking time at railway stations and airports. He added they have been seeking redressal from both Centre and state regarding the Act for the last 15 days, but no concrete steps were taken, "forcing them" to go on strike.
The hefty fines are affecting livelihood: UFTA President
Meanwhile, UFTA President Kultaran Singh Atwal said no one is listening to them. He added they had welcomed the Act initially, but it has now started affecting their livelihood. "You've seen the hefty challans that are being issued for very petty violations. A vehicle is suddenly halted and huge challan is issued which the drivers are unable to pay," he told India Today.
Delhi Metro and buses will remain overcrowded today
Courtesy the strike, a large number of autos, Ola/Uber cabs, and private buses will stay off the roads on Thursday. This means Delhi Metro and buses will face the heat. DTC buses, whose fleet is around 3,796, might struggle to meet the rise in demand. To note, Air Asia issued an advisory on Twitter asking fliers to plan their arrival at airport wisely.
Request you to plan commute accordingly: Air Asia
#TravelAdvisory— AirAsia Indian (@AirAsiaIndian) September 18, 2019
Cab services will be impacted due to transport strike in Delhi-NCR on September 19, 2019.
We request you to plan your commute to the airport accordingly to avoid any inconvenience.
Our check-in counters open 2hrs prior and close 45mins prior to your flight.
Meanwhile, schools asked parents to arrange transport
Several schools, like Noida's Shiv Nadar School, Rohini's Mount Abu Public School, and Modern Public School in Shalimar Bagh, declared a holiday. The institutes which decided to function normally asked parents to arrange transport for their wards. "We have sent a message to the students that transport won't be plying but the school remains open," Suman Kumar, principal of Bluebells School International, told TOI.