The Auto drivers' Joint Action Committee has called for the strike to demand scrapping of a government order under which the traffic police have hiked penalty for traffic violations from Rs100 to Rs1,000.

The auto drivers' unions have made it clear that the strike would continue till the government withdraws the order. They also plan to lay siege to Transport Bhavan on Friday to press for their demand.

The traffic police last month increased the minimum fine for jumping signal and other traffic violations to Rs 1,000. A few auto rickshaws, which were plying despite the strike call, were exploiting the situation by charging double or triple the usual meter fare.

"After working hard for the whole day, we earn Rs 500 to Rs 600. How will we pay a fine of Rs 1,000," asked Arun Kumar, an auto rickshaw driver.

The strike has hit hard passengers arriving at railway and bus stations. Not finding the three-wheelers after reaching railway and bus stations, many passengers were seen walking down the road carrying their luggage to reach nearby city bus stands.

The office-goers and students were among the worst hit by the strike with even the city buses of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) and MMTS trains being overcrowded.

Those staying on the outskirts had a tough time reaching their destinations. They were seen waiting for hours to catch the buses or paid exorbitant fares to taxis, who are exploiting the situation.

(Agencies)

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