Commuters in Delhi and the National Capital Region were inconvenienced on Monday as auto-taxi unions and the Delhi Petrol Dealers Association have called separate day-long strikes.
The transport strike is to protest against the Delhi government’s policies on cab-hailing services Uber and Ola, and the Centre’s rule on speed limiters, the Hindustan Times reported. Petrol dealers are protesting to press the state government to reduce value-added tax on petrol and diesel prices. Around 400 petrol pumps, including ones that sell Compressed Natural Gas, will remain closed.
The transport strike has been called by the Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti, a major auto-taxi union in the city. Other organisations such as the All India Tour and Transport Association, or AITTA, have announced their support. Some outfits have threatened to block major roads and stage a protest against the Centre in front of Parliament.
AITTA Chairperson Inderjeet Singh claimed the unions made multiple attempts to reach out to the state government and the Centre. “But we got no response,” he added. “So we are now forced to block roads to make our voice heard.”
Meanwhile, the Delhi Petrol Dealers’ Association said customers were driving to neighbouring states Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to buy petrol and diesel as fuel prices there are cheaper. “The price reduction in UP and Haryana has led to a decline in sale of petrol by 20% and diesel by 30% in Delhi till October 15,” the association’s President Nischal Singhania told NDTV. “It is expected to further decline in the coming days.”
Earlier this month, 13 states followed the Centre in reducing fuel prices, which had climbed to record highs.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party was behind the strike. “Petrol pump owners hv [sic] told us privately that this is a BJP sponsored strike, actively supported by oil companies,” he tweeted. “In fact, BJP has thrust it upon petrol pump owners. People will give BJP a befitting reply in elections for continuously inconveniencing people through their dirty politics.”
He claimed that the BJP-led government at the Centre had threatened petrol pump owners with Income Tax raids if they did not go on strike. “The oil companies also stated that tough action will be taken against petrol pumps not on strike,” he tweeted.
But the Delhi BJP blamed the Aam Aadmi Party government for not reducing value added tax on fuel, which it said was responsible for the strike. The party also released a statement, asking Kejriwal to wake up from his “slumber”.