Auto-Rickshaws, Taxis Stay Off Road Across Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Responding to the 12-hour dawn-to-dusk bandh call given by the All Odisha Auto-Rickshaw Mahasangh, nearly 1.5 lakh auto-rickshaws and taxis stayed off the road in the state in the morning on Thursday.

The Mahasangh has given the bandh call for fulfilment of its major demands including revision of passenger fare and payment of annual insurance premium.

Alleging that the Centre and the state government have adopted policies to wind up plying of auto-rickshaws and taxis in the cities, the Mahasangh said with Bhubaneswar being declared as the smart city, no auto-rickshaw and taxi would be allowed to ply on the main road. As a result, thousands of auto-rickshaw owners, drivers and their families would be deprived of their livelihoods.

General Secretary of the Mahasangh Padman Samal said the state government should prevail upon the Centre to revise the fuel price. With the steep rise in the price of fuel, the auto-rickshaw owners are incurring a heavy loss. “Besides, we also urge both the governments to withdraw additional taxes imposed on three-wheelers,” he added.

Thousands of passengers were found stranded in the bus stands and railway stations in major cities of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela and Berhampur due to non-availability of auto-rickshaws and taxis.

However, in Cuttack, the City Auto-rickshaw Association has made provisions to bring the patients from the bus stands and railway stations free of cost.

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