Patna Hit by Auto-Rickshaw Strike

Passengers walking with their luggage outside Patna Junction on Tuesday.

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Patna: More than 20,000 auto-rickshaws and over 4,000 e-rickshaws stayed off the road in the state capital on Tuesday in protest against the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act of 2019 introduced by the Narendra Modi government that puts a number of new fines on the auto drivers.

Called by the Bihar State Auto-rickshaw Drivers' Association, the day-long strike crippled the commutes of passengers alighting at the Patna Junction and various bus stations in the city. Many were seen dragging their own luggage on Station Road while some were lucky enough to be able to catch a ride on horse carriages.

Buses were seen carrying commuters 2-3 times over their stated capacity.

Students relying on auto-rickshaws to reach their school or colleges were also seen having a harrowing time.

Talking to the reporters, the association general secretary R K Jha said that the new Act that went into effect on September 1, was unreasonable and too harsh not just for the auto-rickshaw drivers but also for the drivers of any other kind of vehicle.

"Hefty fines have been imposed on us for even the smallest infraction. The fact of the matter is, the government is responsible for most of the accidents as there are potholes on the roads and water-logging in many areas are a constant problem. Traffic management is also in name only as most traffic lights don't even work in Patna. It is obvious that the new rules are created with an eye on increasing revenue as on the first day of its implementation, the Bihar government walked away with over Rs. 7 lakh in fines," Jha said.


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