Spike in autorickshaws without permits on Pune roads
Traffic police claim to have sent 245 applications in the six months of 2017 to RTO for suspension of license of rickshaw drivers for refusing rides to potential passengersUpdated: Jul 06, 2017, 15:35 IST
The movement of traffic in the city of Pune is a rising concern for the citizens. Maharashtra Transport Ministry information claims that the city has third largest density of cars in the country. The Regional Transport Office (RTO) suggests that the city has the highest number of two wheeler vehicles in the country and is increasing at the rate of 700 vehicles per day.
The need for private vehicles, especially two-wheelers, arises from the lack of efficient public transport in the city as compared to major cities. Amid the rising number of private vehicles, the issue of autorickshaws that ply on the roads but refuse rides to the people in need is an issue that has made its effect felt. When we approached citizens to know their experiences, over 100 people responded within a few hours.
Ashok Morale, deputy commissioner of police, traffic, points out that the matter of providing permits falls under the RTO jurisdiction. DCP Morale’s statement came days after the traffic police claim to have carried out a drive to curb incidents of rickshaw drivers denying rides to people - a movement perceived as sham by Nitin Pawar of the Rickshaw Panchayat.
Although, Rickshaw Panchayat, an association of rickshaw drivers led by social activist Nitin Pawar, agree that it is an issue that needs attention.
The traffic police claim to have sent 245 applications in the six months of 2017 to RTO for suspension of license of rickshaw drivers for refusing rides to potential passengers. RTO also receives complaints from public directly in this regard. The auto drivers have to pay a fine of Rs 500 to the RTO to get their licenses reinstated in both the scenarios.
The month of March recorded a surge of rickshaw drivers lining up to pay fine and get their licenses reinstated. The number of rickshaw drivers who paid fine to get their license reinstated in March, based on traffic police complaints, stood at 48 as against 9 in January, 17 in February, 6 in April and 1 in May.
The number of rickshaw drivers who had to pay fine in March based on complaints filed directly by the citizens stood at 73, as against 20 in January, 32 in February, 30 in April and 19 in May.
This goes to show that the issue bothers the citizens enough to approach the RTO and file a complaint.
According to a register with hand-written entries, March witnessed an unexplained surge of permit-related cases. While 121 auto drivers had to get their license reinstated, 117 came under the RTO radar for permit-related issues. In March, of 968 vehicles which had permit-related complaints registered against them, 117 were autorickshaws. The numbers were found to be relatively low in the other months, lowest being in February when, of the total of 455 vehicles in RTO cross hairs, 3 were rickshaws.
Sanjay Raut, RTO, Pune claims that the number of permits in the city was limited until recently. The RTO has issued 45,000 permits so far, claims Raut. However, an open permit policy to increase the number of permits was introduced recently, he claimed. He also said that the forms and procedure were made available on an online channel. However, a major part of Pune RTO machinery itself functions without computers and records are maintained manually.