Update: Taxi-auto unions call off Monday’s strike after transport minister intervenes

Update: Taxi-auto unions call off Monday's strike after transport minister intervenes
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On Sunday evening, taxi and auto unions called off the proposed strike for Monday (August 29) after State Transport Minister assured them of co-operation.

Two unions, Jai Bhagavan Mahasangh and Swabhiman Taxi and Rickshaw Sanghatana, had threatened to go on an indefinite taxi strike from Monday following state government’s failure to regulate app-based taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber.

The state government has prepared the City Taxi Scheme 2015 for regulating app-based taxis, but is yet to bring it into effect. If passed, the scheme will limit their numbers and put an end to their lucrative ‘surge pricing’ policy. The unions are especially opposed to the surge pricing which allows aggregators to charge more money during peak hours, something regular taxis are not allowed to do.

In the wake of the impending strike, Transport Commissioner Pravin Gedam called an emergency meeting with stakeholders on Sunday afternoon in a bid to avert the strike and avoid inconveniencing Mumbaikars. But, the meeting failed to yield any result.

However, by evening, the unions called off the strike following an assurance from State Transport Minister Divakar Raote.

According to our source, the minister had reportedly agreed to a meeting on September 1 with all stakeholders and assured of a favorable decision very soon.

Later, Nitesh Rane, founder of Swabhimaan Sangathna, tweeted, “Got a call from Maharashtra transport minister that government will take final call on Ola and Uber for which he has called meeting on September 1 with all the unions. So our tomorrows (sic) protest is postponed let’s see what happens on the September 1 or we are ready to take this ahead in our way”

This is the second indefinite strike the taxi unions have called off. Earlier, Jai Bhagwan Taxi Rickshaw Sanghatana had called for a strike from July 26, but that too was cancelled at the last minute following the intervention of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Meanwhile, both unions maintain that they have simply postponed the strike until the meeting with Raote next week.

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