Various citizens forums have expressed strong opposition to the demand for upward revision of fares by autorickshaw associations.
A joint memorandum on behalf of civil society organisations was submitted to the Transport Commissioner and Superintendent of Police (Traffic) objecting to the demands of the Auto Driver Unions seeking revision of the fare, with a minimum of Rs 30/km and Rs 15 for every additional km.
Comparing the proposed fares with that of other states, they cited that the fare fixed in Puducherry was already higher than in other states and that there was no justification for seeking upward revision. “We have no hesitation to call their demand outrageous, unreasonable and illogical,” said S Hemachandra, president of People’ s Pulse and a retired IAS officer who served as Secretary to government (Transport).
It is rather sad that both the enforcing departments of transport and police have failed to discipline the drivers, which has given them the room to make such unreasonable demand, he further said.
The rates fixed in 2009 have been fixed arbitrarily without taking into consideration the then prevailing rates of taxes and cost of fuel. While citizens and tourists alike have been enjoying the benefits of lower rates of taxes in respect of all other goods and services, they had no other alternative than to yield to the exorbitant fares demanded by the auto drivers. Even worse was the situation during night hours and when people were in medical emergency.
It is, therefore, time that the administeration deploys its staff in adequate strength and enforce fare collection strictly as per the 2009 notification. The powers conferred upon the officers under the Motor Vehicles Act,1988 should be exercised to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act, Rules and conditions of permit granted to them, suggest some civil society organisations.
They also urged the authorities to take immediate steps to introduce a system of information display in the autos, in the same way as done in Karnataka.
In Karanataka an identification card with details of the owner/driver,vehicle number and permit number is displayed prominently behind the driver’s seat. A colour photo of the display is enclosed.
They further urged the authorities to notify the autorickshaw stands and display the fares fixed by the government.
The memorandum was submitted on behalf of People’ s Pulse, Pondy Can, 5th Fillar, Rajiv Gandhi Human Rights Association, Magalir Mandram, HOPE, Christians Protection Association, Puducherry Environment Council , Kurunjinagar Resident’s Association.