Auto drivers seek fare hike, threaten stir

The Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union (ARDU) has threatened to stop plying autorickshaws across the State on February 28 if its demands, including a hike in the minimum fare, are not fulfilled.

Scores of auto drivers staged a protest in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office early this week demanding among other things an upward revision in the minimum fare to Rs 24 (first two kilometre) and Rs nine for every subsequent kilometre in Bangalore. At present, the minimum fare in the City is Rs 17 and Rs nine for every subsequent kilometre.

B V Raghavendra, General Secretary of Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union, said the bus fare was increased “four times since the last hike in auto fare came into force on August 1, 2010”.

“The cost of fuel for autos has gone up significantly, and it’s high time the auto fare is raised,” Raghavendra said.

The ARDU has also urged the government to increase the share for auto drivers in the budgetary allocation for the Karnataka Unorganised Sector Workers’ Welfare Board. “Our share should be commensurate with our strength. There are nine lakh auto drivers in the State,” Raghavendra said.

The Board should enrol all auto drivers and BPL cards should be provided to them, he said. The DC has convened a meeting on February 27 for talks.

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