Trivandrum: An indefinite strike by autorickshaw and taxi drivers in Kerala since this morning has left hundreds of passengers stranded at railway stations and airports across the state.
The drivers are demanding higher fares because of the recent increase in petrol and diesel rates.
In Trivandrum, they want a 25 per cent jump in autorickshaw rates, from Rs 12 a kilometre to Rs 15, and a 50 per cent hike for taxis, from Rs 100 per hour to Rs 150. The city has around 30,000 autorickshaws.
The strike, which has the backing of unions affiliated to the Left parties and the Congress, has left passengers struggling for hours to find transport.
Sheetal, who got off a train at the Trivandrum railway station, says: "I have been stranded for more than 30 minutes. No autorickshaw or taxi driver is willing to go."
A tourist, who arrived from Mumbai with his family, says: "We have children and lot of luggage. We are having a tough time. The authorities should have made alternate arrangements."
There is some relief, however, for those who have flights to catch from Trivandrum. The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation is running its air-conditioned buses at regular intervals to the Trivandrum international airport.