On August 16, the day the 73-year-old Anna Hazare commenced his fast, thousands of autowallahs in the capital had announced that they would go on a 24-hour strike to show their support for Hazare’s anti-graft movement.
Just three days later, the same autowallahs are raking in the moolah outside the Ramilila Maidan, where Hazare is sitting on his indefinite fast, by charging passengers more than double the actual fare.
“I came here to support Anna Hazare who is fighting for the common man. The auto-wallahs outside the Maidan refused to ply by meter. They are cashing-in on the frenzy. They are demanding Rs 250 for a 10km ride,” said Geetanjali Taragi, who had come from Greater Kailash to support Hazare’s movement.
The unprecedented crowds at the Ramlila Maidan have given the autowallahs a reason to overcharge.
“I stood outside the Maidan for more than 35 minutes waiting for an auto. When I finally got an auto, I had to pay R100 for just three kilometres,” said Sumit Rana, who had come from ITO.
The people leaving the Ramlila Maidan are left with no option but to pay the fare that the autowallahs are demanding.
“Inside the Ramlila grounds an honest Anna and thousands of his supporters are demanding for the Jan Lokpal. People are doing their bit to support his movement. And here, auto-wallahs are exploiting the supporters,” added Taragi.
“Doctors have set up a first-aid desk at the venue and nearby residents are providing free food to strengthen Anna’s peaceful agitation. Instead of exploiting the supporters, the least that these autowallahs can do is ferry the passengers charge as per the meter,” added Rana.