Delhi: The fuel prices are burgeoning and making headlines but at whose expense? Among the worst sufferers of the hike are the auto and cab drivers in the national capital. To express their demur of the same, the members of auto, taxi and cabs associations in Delhi are on a protest against the high fuel prices. They have decided to go on a strike, starting Monday, April 18, 2022, for two days.
CitySpidey talked to auto-rickshaw drivers from Delhi to understand their issues and how the hike in fuel prices has affected them.
Rajesh Yadav, an auto driver, got emotional while talking about his plight. He says, "I bought my auto-rickshaw last year on EMI. However, for the last three months, I haven't been able to pay my EMIs due to the high CNG prices. My kids are not going to school since the Covid pandemic lockdown as I am unable to pay their school fees.”
Yadav shared that if he quotes increased prices, the passengers refuse to take the auto. He says, “We are in a very difficult situation because the charges of auto rickshaw’s meter are very low, and passengers naturally don't want to pay extra. We are facing a huge loss and the government should think about us.”
The Delhi government had announced forming a committee to revise the fare charges in a time-bound manner. Meanwhile, Ram Chandra (57), another auto driver, who routinely commutes around Central Delhi, says, “I have been driving auto-rickshaw for the last 25 years. I strongly believe that the government should revise the CNG prices. Due to the high charges, commuters hesitate to take auto services.”
Another auto rickshaw driver, Mohammad Kazim (43), who has been an auto driver for the past 15 years, says, “Government should also think about us. We also have a family to feed. If the CNG prices are increased, there is also a need to increase the meter charges. Otherwise, it's us who has to bear the losses.”
Karanjeet Singh, a taxi driver says, “For the last 10 years, I have been living in Delhi and driving a taxi for a living. This is the worst year in terms of fuel prices that I have faced. Now, I have to pay almost the double price to fill my CNG tank. The last two years were already hard on us and now this has added to our problems.”
It is not only drivers who are suffering because of the fuel price hike, the passengers are also among the affected lot. Alvira Nasir, a Delhi-based writer says, “One as it is shirked away from taking cabs and autos in Delhi as they were expensive. Now, thanks to the hike in CNG prices, it would further the reluctance. Going to the airport and stations could be very expensive now. Moreover, this will also increase the pressure on the metro when Covid cases are increasing again.”
Palak Nagar, a regular user of online cab services says, “You have to think twice now before booking a cab because of the increased prices. I live in Noida and the metro services are not available at every place. After Covid-19, I preferred private auto-rickshaw or cabs to travel. However, I have to pay double charges now which makes the services unaffordable for me to even go to my office.”