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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Auto-rickshaw drivers overcharging passengers

Yogendra Pratap Singh, Hindustan Times  Bhopal, August 29, 2013
First Published: 10:16 IST(29/8/2013) | Last Updated: 10:23 IST(29/8/2013)

The passengers in the Bhopal continue to be overcharged by auto-rickshaw drivers, as drivers refuse to ply their vehicle according to meters.

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Although the administration claims that auto rickshaws overcharging the passengers are being penalised, it hardly seems to have made any difference.

The auto-rickshaw drivers normally overcharge the passengers on the pretext of hike in fuel prices.

Interestingly, there is a silent understanding between all the auto drivers.

If one driver demands Rs. 100 for any particular distance, no other drivers will agree to go on a lesser amount. They prefer to lose the customers, but they don’t negotiate. They know that many people have no other choice but to come to them.

Even after several attempts and campaigns over the past three years, the district administration has failed to convince auto-rickshaw drivers to charge passengers according to the meters. A majority of auto- rickshaws plying in the city either do not have meters or the drivers refuse to go by them.

Officials of weight and measures department, however, claimed that meters have been installed in all the autos of the city and meters are being stamped by the department on regular basis.

Nasimuddin, inspector of weight and measures department ( incharge of Bhopal city), said,

“The meters were installed in the autos and they are being verified regularly. The department along with traffic police and regional transport officers carry out drives and those who are found violating the rules are challaned.

In 2011, the district administration had got tough with the uto-rickshaw drivers for installation of proper autorickshaw meters.

Then collector Nikunj Shrivastava had made it clear that autorickshaws would be permitted to carry passengers only after installing meters.

They were also given a deadline of September 1, 2011, after which not a single auto-rickshaw was to be allowed to ply without a meter.

The collector had even asked the regional transport officer to hold camps with the help of weights and measures department and ensure meterisation of the auto-rickshaws by September 1, 2011.

The auto drivers were also asked to put rate lists in the auto-rickshaws and wear proper uniforms.

However, the administration has failed to meet the deadline and could not implement the mandatory meter clause for the auto rickshaws.

Former collector Shrivastava after demitting office in June 2013, had admitted that his two major failures were his inability to ensure meterisation of all auto-rickshaws and implement the mandatory helmet clause for two-wheeler drivers.

District collector Nishant Warwade said, “I have called a meeting with all auto-rickshaw unions of the city. The meeting will be held soon and problems would be sorted out.”


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