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Auto-rickshaws charging higher fares, passengers in trouble
Auto-rickshaws charging higher fares, passengers in trouble
PHOTO : TIWN File Photo

AGARTALA, September 1 (TIWN): Auto rickshaws are charging higher fares from passengers across the state, following the state transport department’s effort to restrict the number of passengers travelling in these vehicles. The arbitrary increase was more than 50 per cent in many cases on different routes here.

Passengers today had a terrible experience as the auto drivers hiked the passengers’ fare creating huge trouble for thousands of passengers. For an instance, the auto drivers charged an amount of Rs 12 on Hapania-Battala route and Rs 10 on Battala-IGM Chowmuhani route, though one of the auto-rickshaw union workers stated that the auto drivers are supposed to charge maximum Rs 6 to 7 on Battala-IGM Chowmuhani route. Similar incidents have been reported from various parts of the state.

As the fare hike triggered resentment among the passengers, brawl between the passengers and drivers have been reported from various places. It is inhuman and encouraging to collect excess fare from the passengers especially by auto rickshaw drivers. Hundreds of office-goers and commuters have to face inconvenience.

Ever since their introduction in the state, auto rickshaws have been a source of trouble for passengers. Even in normal times they charge higher fares at night or during rain, completely violating the government fare rate. This is mainly because of the licensing rule in the state. The state government has till now given auto rickshaw licenses to all applicants and this has resulted in a phenomenal increase in the number of such vehicles in proportion to the road conditions. All these drivers and owners are affiliated with the CITU, the ruling CPI (M)’s trade union arm and, hence, there is no action against errant drivers and owners.

Furious over the High Court’s recent order to carry not more than 3 passengers in auto rickshaw, the auto-rickshaw drivers controlled by CITU came out with their own set of fares which is double than the previous fare. This revision of fares angered daily commuters mostly belonging to poorer strata, unorganized working group and fixed salaried class people. Surprisingly, no initiative on the part of administration is yet taken against the auto-rickshaw drivers.

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