September 2 was a general strike day by 10 central trade unions of the country. The unions claim ‘some 15 crore members are on their membership rolls’ and since they were preparing for it for long, in fact the strike was earlier proposed in July, the normal life was expected to be affected.
And it was so, at least in Delhi – as personally experienced by me.
I took longer to reach my work place today than the usual 30 minutes because public transportation was badly struck with Delhi facing burden of dual strikes – one by the trade unions and other by the union of auto drivers who were protesting against the government of Arvind Kerjrilwal opposing affordable taxi services.
So, I didn’t get any auto-rickshaw – with legitimate fare.
The strike was comprehensive and very few auto-rickshaws were on the road. Some were making use of the day, that happens on a day like this, by charging customers sky high fares. So, if I pay some 50 bucks daily for the ride I take to the Delhi Metro station, today, the drivers were demanding 150-200 Rs.
Buses were less in frequency. Parking slots for auto-rickshaws were full with vehicles. Some were running their vehicles without passengers. Doing so, with their meters covered, was probably their mode of protest.
It was coupled with the larger nationwide strike of the trade unions. And the daylong ‘Bharat Bandh’ was also supported by different associations of bank and insurance employees. So, it was much less than usual activity out on the stretch of the road that I daily take to my work place.
Overall transportation channel looked subdued. There were less people on the road, but more in the Delhi Metro trains – which again showed how badly the strike had affected it. Though I did not come across any violent activity in my part of the country, the strike was marred with reports of violence from many states.
The stretch, from my house to my work place, usually 30 minutes long, took around an hour today. As I could not get any auto-rickshaw, I had to opt for a nearer Delhi Metro station where a rickshaw-puller could take me. Paying somewhat more that he demand on a day like this didn’t pinch me because he was sweating it out on a hot and humid day.
Though, inside of the Delhi Metro train didn’t look like there was any significant ‘Bharat Bandh’ in India’s national capital – the rush at lean hour of the day was due to the sluggish public transport on Delhi’s roads. Whenever there is some sort of problem of Delhi’s road transport, the rush in Delhi Metro becomes manifold. Let’s see how the strike spanned across the country.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/