"Outrageous... the government has failed us... government has surrendered to autowallahs." This was how many Delhiites reacted to the city government's decision to increase autorickshaw and taxi fares.
Resident Welfare Associations also slammed the decision and attacked the government for not taking the people into confidence while calculating the CNG price hike impact "which is hardly 25 paise to 50 paise per KM on both auto and taxi owners."
Office-goers who depend on autos to commute to office and back home are the worst-hit, while some people felt that three-wheelers would no longer be affordable for the common man. Sandhya Singh, who takes an auto from her home in Shahdra to Connaught Place every day, says she is hit hard by the decision.
"This is an outrageous decision. Already we are paying more for power, gas and for everything else. Now, the government wants us to pay more for auto rides. With this, I have to spend around Rs 100 extra every day on commuting," she says. But, Aparna has a similar tale to tell. She travels from Noida to South Extension for her work and says her spending on commuting will become double.
"I spend around Rs 200 everyday on autos. Now I have to spend an extra Rs 50-70 everyday... usually auto drivers never go by metres... the government has failed us. This hike is unwarranted," she said. "I have failed to understand Delhi government's logic of increasing Meter down charges by a whopping Rs 10 and subsequent hike of Rs two per kilometer.
Why is government bending so much," an angry Ankur said. Manmohan Mehra, Secretary of Kiran Vihar RWA, said he fails to understand why the government has "surrendered" to auto unions. "Hike in prices of diesel, cooking gas, school fee and milk prices have already shaken out house hold budget. Now hike in auto prices will further make a dent.
The school buses will be first to increase the monthly rates for students," he said. Meanwhile, autorickshaw unions welcomed the move to hike fares, but said they would not shell out money for installing GPS in their systems.
"We welcome the fare structure. It is really good. We thank the government, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely. But we won't spend money on GPS. If the government wants to install, let it install on its cost," Rajendra Soni of Delhi Auto Unions said. PTI