Off road

An indefinite auto strike has been going on in Pune for the past four days, bang in the middle of the summer vacations, all over a reduction in fares. Two parties are responsible, the government which has a direct monopoly on roads and therefore on public transport, and militant drivers’ unions. Here’s the interesting part

Rickshaw drivers operating at the Lohegaon airport prepaid rickshaw booth say they want to operate, but the fear of agitating rickshaw unions has compelled them to remain off the streets. These guys are willing to ply despite the proposed fare cut but dare not do so.

The fear of their vehicles being attacked and possibly being beaten up themselves weighs heavier than their daily earnings. Few auto drivers who defied the strike to ply in Kothrud area on Saturday were beaten up.

Insisting on anonymity, a rickshaw driver there said, “We do consider Baba Adhav as our leader, but we are losing out because of the indefinite strike. Normally, our business is at its peak on weekends but we could make nothing this Saturday and Sunday.

We want to operate but are terrified at the thought of what will happen to us if we defy the strike call. Those on strike would just ransack our rickshaws and we would be attacked.

We would be losing our bread and butter for a long time then. That is what keeps us away from the roads.”

Another interesting case that’s a few days old-

The traffic branch of the Pune police on Friday arrested a driver and booked the owner of a private bus for ferrying passengers from Kolhapur to Pune without a proper permit from the Regional Transport Office (RTO).


Palsule said that around 11 pm on Thursday, a team led by assistant police inspector Anil Patrudkar stopped a bus near Katraj. The words All India permit’ were panted on its windscreen and there were 45 passengers in it.

While drivers are being beaten up by goons, the police is busy catching people who don’t have a “permit.”

All this, and even worse, is a regular occurrence in most cities in India. By controlling everything from hand carts to airplanes, from pathetic lanes to pathetic national highways that run right “through” some of the busiest cities in the world, the government has effectively destroyed the whole transportation infrastructure in the country. We burn the wrong effigy at Dussehra or Navratri or whatever.

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  • you12  On May 5, 2009 at 1:50 am

    The people don’t mind the thieves as long as they get to elect them.

    But all this mess shouldn’t be a problem. Since we pay almost Half of our incomes as a “duty to the nation” to create and solve messes.

    (Both his blogs ,the new and the old
    are recommended. He writes well, with a humorous and sarcastic undertone.

  • Aristotle The Geek  On May 6, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    I read some posts on the new blog. This makes sense-

    If you are into counter-economics, you have another good reason to patronise these home-stays. They don’t pay a paisa of income tax, sales-tax, service-tax, what have you. It’s entirely black, underground, unaccounted. They offer services, you pay money, and voilà, value is created without the Govt supervising this dangerous transaction! What’s more this value is not included in the national GDP numbers. I suspect India’s GDP (after you subtract the money spent/destroyed by various Govt bodies) is probably 2-3 times the official figures, all because a huge amount of wealth is created in the “unorganised” sector. Though the central Govt has been trying hard to “organise” this sector it continues to thrive. Guess people don’t like to be taxed any more than they like to be ripped-off.

    Props also to a certain restaurant near the Alliance Francaise for allowing its patrons to have a quiet smoke at the table. Smoking on private property is banned in India. This entrepreneur was breaking the law to serve his customers…

    I agree. Its a nice one. He seems to be a pacifist though (saying this on the basis of his post on Israel). But then Rothbard too had a similar opinion.

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