At Burari, a serpentine queue of autorickshaw drivers could be seen even as the remaining parts of the city was left to fend for itself. Where most of the drivers wanted to go was the mahasabha which was to be attended by the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
In his usual rhetorical style, the chief minister made the auto drivers — 10,000 in number — swear on their children that they won’t overcharge commuters, misbehave with them or even turn them away. He also asked them to admit if they had committed any such offences before.
“I request you to make a promise to not adopt dishonest means and not overcharge the passengers. I also urge you not to misbehave with them. You earn money because of passengers travelling in your vehicle. That is how your family survives,” Kejriwal said.
“If any of you is going home after work, I request him to place a “No Service” plate in front of their vehicle so that they aren’t fined for refusal,” he added.
Read: Kejriwal promises autowallahs annual fare revision
Kejriwal also offered them protection from bribe-seeking policemen. “You can complain on the helpline 42400400 if the police ask for bribes or fine you unnecessarily. You can record the conversation and bring it to us. We will take action against them.”
The chief minister’s announcement that the drivers won’t have to install meters that come with GPS in their vehicles also came as a relief for the auto drivers as they won’t have to pay Rs. 18,000 for it now.
“Auto drivers can now install just GPS in their vehicles if they already have meters. For GPS, they will just have to pay Rs. 4,000-5,000,” Kejriwal added.
He extended an olive branch to the beleaguered passengers of the autorickshaws in the form of a helpline number on which they can call if any driver turns them away.
Among a host of other announcements, transport minister Saurabh Bharadwaj promised that the manufacturers will be allowed to set up scrapyards where they can dismantle old autorickshaws to manufacture new ones. He also promised to improve the Burari centre which issues fitness certificates to the autorickshaws.
The Delhi government has also told PWD and three municipal agencies to designate 550 spots for halt and go stands for autorickshaws and taxis.