Showing utter disregard to the Supreme Court guidelines, auto-rickshaws in the city are ferrying passengers to and fro beyond the permissible octroi limits of the district, causing huge losses to the state transport and private bus companies.
Interestingly, being well aware of the situation, the traffic and transport authorities concerned have failed miserably to ensure strict action against the violators and the ill-practice is flourishing unabashedly.
Causing severe losses to the Punjab roadways and Pepsu Road Transport Corporation, these auto-rickshaws trespass the octroi limits on the peripheries of the city at Dhandari, Guru Nanak Engineering College, Gill Road and Hotel Amaltas on the Jalandhar Road and Barewal Awana.
District transport officer Anil Garg said, "Thorough checking is the only way through which the ill-practice can be curbed. We are planning a combined checking drive with the traffic authorities soon. This will help address the issue.
Assistance commissioner of police, traffic, Richa Agnihotri said, "We have been able to reduce the menace up to a large extent by carrying out regular checks. We have deployed personnals at various points to keep a check on it and shall be able to solve the matter soon."
State president of the Punjab mini-bus service Jaswinder Singh Grewal said, "We are running into losses due to thousands of auto-rickshaws crossing the octroi limits on a daily basis with absolutely no check by the transport or traffic authorities concerned. They are working in connivance with the police and have political patronage behind them to run it."
"The issue has been raised several times, but no permanent solution is being ensured by the authorities," added Grewal.
All-India Trade Union Congress Union (AITUC) secretary Harbansh Singh said, "Most of the these auto-rickshaw owners do not even posses permits, causing losses worth lakhs to the state transport and private companies on a daily basis. Authorities, too, have failed to take strict action despite several complaints."