The city traffic police seem to have started tightening noose around erring autorickshaw drivers. In the past three months, they have penalised 11,675 of them, almost double the number of violators caught last year for various offences during the same period.
In 2011 between January and March, only 4,792 autorickshaw drivers were challaned. According to traffic police department, fines have been imposed for rash driving, tampered number plates, ferrying extra passengers, misbehaving with passengers and other offences.
"Many of the autorickshaw drivers are minors and some of them do not wear uniform. Also, they do not install meters in the vehicles and often jump traffic signals," said a senior traffic police official.
Commuters alleged that the drivers of shared autorickshaws park their autos anywhere, encroaching upon road space that leads to traffic jams. "Many of them have a criminal background. They charge exorbitant rates which are not affordable for daily commuters," said Ankur Sharma, a resident.
Commuters say that some times auto-drivers block their way and compel them to board their vehicle. Also they fight among themselves to ferry passengers.
Though the administration had instructed auto-drivers to get meters installed, the order remains only on paper.
Autorickshaw union leaders said there are some anti- social elements, who drive autos illegally, are involved in such activities.
"We are aware of the problem and are doing our bit to improve the situation. We are in touch with the city administration and we will work with them to ease the problems of commuters," said Raju Pradhan, a shared autorickshaw union leader.
The traffic police, on the other hand, blame the transport department for illegal autorickshaws in the city.
"We can only challan them for traffic violations. This issue must be sorted out by the regional transport authority and the city administration," said a traffic police official.