Commuters in Delhi-NCR faced hardships as transport bodies have given a one-day token strike call on Thursday. The strike is against the various provisions of the amended Motor Vehicle (MV) Act, including a steep hike in penalties for various traffic-related offences. On Wednesday, the United Front of Transport Associations (UFTA) office-bearers had alleged both the Centre and the Delhi government is forcing them to go for the strike.
"We have been seeking redressal of our grievances related to the new MV Act from both the Centre and the Delhi government for the last 15 days, but no solution is there is sight forcing us to go on a one-day strike," UFTA general secretary Shyamlal Gola said.
Meanwhile, office-goers faced difficulties in reaching their workplaces as several private buses, taxis and autorickshaws remained off the roads due to the strike. However, the services of Delhi Metro and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses remained unaffected.
United Front of Transport Associations (UFTA) general secretary Shyamlal Gola said over 50 transport associations and unions in Delhi-NCR were taking part in the strike.
Kishore Lal, a government employee, said he had to take the metro as the daily chartered bus from his residential colony to his office did not ply.
"We waited for 15 minutes but the bus did not come. So we are taking the metro now," Lal, whose office is at the CGO complex, said.
The DTC buses were more crowded than usual due to the extra load of passengers.
Some autorickshaws were also seen ferrying passengers. Kishan Chand, an autorickshaw driver, said this could be because the night shift ended at 8 am. The autorickshaws would stop ferrying passengers as the day progressed, he added.
The transport strike will also affect the functioning of educational institutes as many schools in the national capital will remain closed throughout the day.
Many parents received messages from their children's schools informing them that educational institutes will be closed on Thursday.
"Most of the schools have announced off due to strike of transporters and preparatory leave of ongoing exams," said Bharat Arora, general secretary of the Action Committee of unaided recognised private schools.
A message from GD Salwan Public school read, "Dear Parent, on account of the strike called by Private Transporters under the banner of United Front of Transport Association in Delhi/NCR, the school shall remain closed for the students of classes Nursery, KG & 10th on 19/092019."
Other schools which have sent similar messages to parents of the students are ITL Public School, Dwarka, Chinmaya Vidyalaya and DPS, Mathura Road.
"Due to transport strike called by United Front of Transport Association, the school will remain closed on 19 September 2019. The scheduled exam for classes IV - XII will be held on 20 September 2019. For detailed information please check the school website," a message from ITL Public School read.
Exams scheduled for Thursday have been postponed to Saturday at the Chinmaya Vidyalaya.
"In view of the proposed transport strike in Delhi, the School will remain closed on Thursday, 19th September 2019 for all the Students and the Teachers. It has also been decided that this holiday will be compensated later. However, it will be a normal working day for the administrative staff," according to a message sent by DPS, Mathura Road.
There are some schools that have asked parents to make travel arrangements for their children.
"In view of the call for one-day token strike by transporters on 19.9.2019, all the students availing school transport as well as private vans are hereby informed that buses facility including our own school buses will not ply due to security reasons. Parents are thereby requested to decide accordingly," a message from DAV Loni road read.
Even ASN Senior Secondary School in Mayur Vihar has asked parents to make necessary arrangements for students to reach school since buses will not ply on Thursday due to the strike.
What is the UFTA?
The UFTA is an umbrella body representing 41 associations and unions of goods and passenger segments including trucks, buses, autos, tempos, maxi-cabs and taxis plying in the Delhi-NCR region.
The federation leaders demanded to withdraw of the provisions of the amended Act such as steeply hiked penalties and limiting the liability of the insurer to Rs 5 lakh, among others.
However, President Delhi Taxi Tourist Transporters Association Sanjay Samrat said they will not be part of the strike.
Transport strike in Delhi today