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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Tuk-tuk service comes to a halt

Jyotsna Jalali , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, February 18, 2013
First Published: 10:27 IST(18/2/2013) | Last Updated: 10:28 IST(18/2/2013)

Tuk-tuk, the 24-hour radio autorickshaw service in the city, has been disrupted during the night for over a month now. Reason: The autosrickshaws are being challaned for putting covers on the doors. This move to challan covered autorickshaws has been initiated by the UT administration after the Delhi gangrape case, where the victim was raped in a moving bus with curtains on windows.

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Those handling the service say soon after the unfortunate rape case in Delhi, they were intimated by the authorities to ply autosrickshaws without covers. Talking to Hindustan Times, Tuk-Tuk service manager Amar Thakur said, "This winter has been really bad for us as the night service was stopped completely in between and now it has been disrupted again. After driving without covers, drivers fell sick and many of them had to be hospitalised for days together."

The company has 31 autorickshaws and as of now, it has been able to ply not more than four or five autorickshaws during the night. Many drivers, after they were asked not to put the covers, opted out of driving through the night. "I tried driving in the night and even used blankets, but nothing helped. I was hospitalised for days as I had fever. The covers used to help us, especially during the chilly nights. I have now opted out of driving in the night and has been also losing on the income, but I cannot let my health suffer," said a Tuk-tuk driver.

He added that everyone should not be made to pay for the mistake of others. If police presence is increased at night no untoward incident can take place, he said.

Even during the daytime, autorickshaws are not allowed to pull down their covers, as per directions by the authorities. Tuk-tuk service has been very popular, especially among the middle-class people, but its disruption for sometime hasn't gone down well with commuters. Shruti Arora, a content writer in the city, says, "The autorickshaw service is very comfortable and reliable, but of late it has been disrupted and generally one is not able to book the same especially during the late night and early morning hours."

Earlier, the Haryana Roadways had pulled out its Volvo buses plying on the Chandigarh-Delhi route, as the buses were being challaned for tinted windows. It has been a fortnight and the service is yet to be resumed properly. The online booking, which too was stopped, hasn't been resumed.

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