Section of 3-wheeler drivers goes on daylong strike today in Dhaka
A section of CNG-run auto-rickshaw drivers yesterday announced to enforce a 24-hour strike in the capital from 6:00am today through a press statement, to press home their seven-point demand that included ending "harassment" by traffic police.
"Police file cases against the drivers and penalise them without proper reasons, which creates panic. We want an end to such harassments and an immediate release of the drivers who have been arrested for trivial matters," said Kamal Ahmed, general secretary of Dhaka District Four-Stroke Auto Rickshaw (CNG) Drivers' Union that would enforce the strike.
Their other demands include arrangement of sufficient parking spaces, re-adjustment of the government-set daily deposit charge paid by workers to owners and issuance of appointment letters or identity cards to drivers.
As per rule, a driver has to pay Tk 900 daily as a deposit money or operating charge to owners. But the drivers demanded minimising the rate.
On the other hand, another section of CNG-run auto-rickshaw workers differ with the strike.
"Those, who have called the strike, should discuss with the government authorities concerned to solve the issue. If the negotiation fails, they can launch their movement," said Hanif Khokon, general secretary of the Dhaka Auto Rickshaw Sramik Union.
"The drivers, who are involved with our union, will operate the auto-rickshaws. We urge the law enforcers to take action against those who would try to resist our drivers," Khokon told The Daily Star.
Meanwhile, another organisation of auto-rickshaw workers at a press conference yesterday demanded immediate implementation of the government's pledge to give permission to workers for introducing new 5,000 CNG-run auto-rickshaws in the capital.
Although the government gave the pledge in 2013, it is yet to be implemented, said Ashraful Alam, a leader of CNG Auto Rickshaw Driver and Cooperative Federation, while addressing the press conference at Jatiya Press Club.
He also threatened to launch a tougher movement, if the demand was not met immediately.
Around 13,000 CNG-run auto rickshaws ply in the capital and around a dozen of workers' organisations are working in this sector, according to workers.