Common Man Taken for a Ride

Though the autorickshaw drivers in other cities have no qualms to run the meter, why is that those in Kochi find it ‘impossible’ to do so? As the stir launched by them completed four days, it is the common man who is at the receiving end

Published: 10th February 2014 10:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th February 2014 10:44 AM   |  A+A-

The indefinite strike called by the Autorickshaw Drivers Coordination Committee from February 6 has already given four days of  hardship to commuters who depends on the common man’s vehicle.

The strike was launched by the trade unions in protest against the City Police drive enforcing use of meters in autorickshaws.

However, the majority of people from all walks of life has criticised the authorities for not taking stringent action against autorickshaw drivers and termed the strike ‘anti-people’.

Retired justice C N Ramachandran Nair said the drivers should be ready to operate  meters while conducting trips.

“In rural areas, where the frequency of trips and chances of getting return passengers are less, they can ask for extra charge. But, here there is a chance for getting passengers from every points,” he said.

Ramachandran Nair said the drivers have complainted that the autorickshaws from other districts are conducting services within the city limit. “If there are such cases, the authorities should think of ways to tackle it. For instance, they can think of introducing a unique colour to the auto rickshaws holding city permits. The public should be given instruction to depend only on such autos,” he added.

“As the Supreme Court observed, transportation is the lifeline of people.  Denying the people the right to travel, for whatever reasons, is a crime. Here, the autorickshaw unions have called the strike after the police asked  them to charge as per meter reading. If the autorickshaws in other cities can adhere to the rule, why not the ones here,” asks Justice K Narayana Kurup, former judge, High Court of Kerala.

He said the authorities should take stringent actions against the striking autorickshaws  as it is one of the essential services.

“There should be a democratic colour in every strike for rights and collective bargaining is good for claiming their rights. But here, in this strike, the democratic colour is missing,” he added.

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