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Auto strike hits Delhi hard


New Delhi : Delhiites had a harrowing time Thursday as thousands of auto-rickshaw drivers struck work demanding that the government pay for GPS instruments to be installed in their vehicles.

Auto unions say they have nothing against the GPS systems, made mandatory to bring down instances of over-charging and route deviations, but added that they were against the way the government was forcing them to buy the product.

“The government has a vested interest in the company selling the GPS systems costing Rs.15,000. We get the same product elsewhere for Rs.3,000-5,000. But the government is forcing us to buy the expensive model,” said Suresh Sharma, president of Rashtravadi Janta Tipahiya Chalak Mahasangh.

With thousands of auto-rickshaws not plying Thursday, and many of those still on the roads covering only short distances, people had a tough time reaching their places of work and study.

Businessman Gurjeet Singh, who lives in Rohini, said he left home at 9 in the morning but reached his shop in Chanakyapuri only at noon.

“Had I known about the strike, I would have made some other arrangement,” he said.

Mandir Marg resident Pinki Khurana complained that she walked around two kilometres from her home but could not get an auto. “Ultimately I took the Metro.”

Some auto drivers were ready to operate but were afraid of being roughed up by strikers.