Is the Crackdown on Missing Meters Actually Working?
By U Tejonmayam | Published: 29th May 2014 07:43 AM |
CHENNAI: Just when people were convinced that autorickshaw drivers were getting back to their old ways of fleecing commuters, the State Transport Department and the traffic police personnel are back once again, intensifying their inspections. And this time the officials are not taking any chances but are taking severe action, impounding over 120 autorickshaws that have violated permit rules in the last four days.
After lying low for a couple of months when the State was busy with elections, RTOs have swung into action with manpower support provided by 10 teams of the Greater Chennai City Traffic police personnel.
Two main areas have been identified where there is a lot of autorickshaw movement. During the day the police concentrate on the spots near railway stations and the focus shifts to shopping malls later in the evening as many drivers form cartels and operate on fares fixed by them. The Transport Department too has identified locations including Pallavan Salai and Sholinganallur to continue with their inspections.
While earlier the drivers were fined for violations, Transport Department officials, who do the actual paper work for the inspections, said they had started to directly impound vehicles. Furthermore, now the autorickshaw drivers are given only a week’s notice to give a reply unlike earlier when they were given two weeks
If the replies are not satisfactory, transport officials recommend cancellation of their permits. “Fines are not working. We are straightaway impounding their vehicles. For first time offenders, we will suspend them for 15 days to a month while permits will be cancelled for habitual offenders,” said T Prabhakara Rao, Transport Commissioner.
With 10 traffic police personnel in action, another 20 teams will join them from June 1, increasing the number of inspections and locations. They are now busy with school bus inspections, which will end by May 31.