‘Unruly’ auto-rickshaws increase commuters’ woes in Amritsar

  • Surjit Singh, Hindustan Times, Amritsar
  • Updated: Apr 24, 2016 19:44 IST
Traffic jam being caused due to hordes of auto-rickshaws near the bus stand in Amritsar on Thursday. (HT PHOTO)

A large number auto-rickshaws on the city roads have not only added to its traffic woes, the ‘unruly and indifferent behaviour’ of the auto-rickshaw drivers have only made the city more unsafe for the commuters.During traffic jams, which are common sight in the city, auto-rickshaws are seen in majority. And as majority of the roads have been dug up due to the ongoing development projects, the situation has become alarming.

To it, the auto-rickshaw drivers do not care about the rules and regulations. In a bid to get passengers, they stop the vehicle wherever they want, creating chaos on the roads. Reckless driving and abrupt stoppages by them in the middle of the roads often lead to accidents.

Besides, most of the auto-rickshaws carry passengers more than their capacities. It poses threat to the lives of not only the passengers, but also of other commuters on the roads. Auto-rickshaws also have a major contribution in increasing the pollution level in the city.

“The auto-rickshaw menace is a major issue which has added to the city residents’ woes. The administration should take concrete step to fix the problem. The administration should establish an auto-rickshaw stand near the bus stand and no auto-driver should be allowed to stop his vehicle in the middle of the road,” said Balraj Singh, a resident.

At some localities, it seems that the auto-rickshaw drivers have encroached upon the roads. There are several busy points in the city, including the bus stand, railway station, Bhandari bridge and all key chowks where huge traffic snarls are witnessed on regular basis and auto-rickshaws are mainly responsible for it. At the Sangam theatre side of the bus stand, an entire area is seen occupied by these auto-rickshaws. Here, the encroachment by auto-rickshaws not only hit the commuters, but also affect livelihood of venders who sell fruits and other eatables.

“Auto-rickshaws block the entire road due to which our vends become invisible for the people. It affects our sale. We have made number of requests to leaders of auto-rickshaw union as well as officials concerned to sort out this problem, but in vain. The administration is not serious about making any proper system or policy for autos,” said Avtar Singh, a vendor.

Meanwhile, most of the auto-rickshaws could be seen ferrying passengers without valid documents and the administration seems to be doing nothing on this issue.

District transport officer Lovejit Kaur Kalsi said, “I can only challan auto-rickshaw in case it lacks any document and I am fulfilling this duty well. The traffic police department is responsible for controlling the traffic in the city.”

When contacted, assistant commissioner of police (traffic) Navneet Singh Mahal said they have written to municipal corporation authorities to make most affected areas like bus stand free from illegal encroachments and to establish separate stand for auto-rickshaws. “These arrangements can sort out the problem. Now, it is upto the MC when they make these arrangements,” he added.

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