People may have to shell out more to travel by autos and taxis as the government may allow increase in the fares in the wake of rise in price of CNG, auto union leaders said Wednesday after a meeting with the transport minister.
"The government is all set to accept the proposal for a fare hike as they have informed that the compressed natural gas (CNG) prices will not be reduced. Delhi Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said he would look into our demand for a hike," M.S. Mansuri, president, Rashtriya Rajdhani Shetra Tipahiya Chaalak Union told IANS.
According to the auto rickshaw and taxi union, at present autos charge Rs.19 for the first two kilometres. "We need it to be increased to Rs.29 as the CNG which then cost Rs.25 is now costing Rs.38.35," Mansuri said.
Apart from this, for each subsequent kilometre, the unions demand a fare of Rs.9 as against Rs.6.50 now.
"The transport minister has said that a formal announcement will be made within 15 days regarding the fare hike, but the transport minister and other officials are firm that they cannot lower the CNG prices," said Rajendra Soni, President, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh.
Soni said they have asked for increasing the taxi fare also, from Rs.20 for the first km to Rs.40 and an additional Rs.18 for each successive kilometres from Rs.11 now.
The taxi and auto unions have withdrawn their proposed strike on Aug 3 as of now, but said they will go for it if the government does not increase the fares within 15 days.
"If in case the government fails to meet its promise and fulfill our demands, we will be yet again forced to resume our protest and strike" he added.
Apart from this, the auto rickshaw unions also claimed that even three months after the Supreme Court order directing the Delhi transport department to issue 45,000 permits to run new auto-rickshaws in the city, the Delhi government has not done so.
"The transport minister has also promised to respond to the Supreme court orders as soon as it can," Soni said.
The Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) had hiked CNG prices by Rs.1.75 a kg Jan 1, 2012; by Rs.1.90 a kg March 6, 2012; and Rs.2.90 per kg July 6, 2012.
"There are a total of 55,000 autos in Delhi and all run on CNG. In such a case, the hike in CNG prices three times this year alone has turned it expensive and un-affordable for us," Mansuri said.