Auto strike cancelled after Mah CM stays decision for 2 months

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Mumbai, Apr 22 (UNI) Nearly 18 hours after the commencement of a three-day strike against installation of electronic meters in autos across Maharashtra, the strike was today called off by the autorickshaw union when Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh stayed the decision to instal meters in the autos for two months.

In a meeting held at Vidhan Bhawan here.

attended by union representatives and a couple of MLAs, Mr Deshmukh stayed the decision and announced the formation of a committee, to be headed by State Transport Minister Dharmrao Baba Atram. The committee would decide on installing the meters in the autos and present the report to the Chief Minister within 2 months.

Union leader Sharad Rao said, ''In the meeting, Mr Deshmukh came to know that the union has not been consulted before taking the decision to install electronic meters, which was against the government rule, hence the decision has been stayed for 2 months.'' Mr Deshmukh also assured the union that a committee would be constituted under principal secretary Ramnath Jha, which would have union representatives, administration and gram panchayat committees, regarding the issues pertaining to the autorickshaw drivers all over the state and a decision on the same would be taken soon.

The strike called by the autorickshaw union was 100 per cent successful, with around 14 lakh drivers keeping off the roads all over Maharashtra.

The autorickshaw drivers had resorted to strike, crippling the transport services in suburban Mumbai and other parts of the state, after the government made it compulsory for all the autorickshaws to install electronic meters in their vehicles at a cost of Rs 4,000 each.

The union had complained that the meters were costly and there was no security to the same and would take at least four days to get even minute things repaired due to lack of licenced mechanic of the meters.

The auto drivers had demanded that the government's decision to install the meters should be taken back, as it would have been difficult for the drivers to bear the costs of the electronic meters, as the demand for the autos was reducing.

The auto services would be normal as soon as possible, Mr Rao said.

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