Auto drivers seek ` 24 min fare

The auto rickshaw driver unions of the district and public were in a fit of rage as the auto fare revision meeting to be started at 5 pm at Deputy Commissioner's office, did not start even when the clock struck 7 pm, due to absence of DC and other officials.

Various auto rickshaw driver unions had gathered in the conference hall in DC's office with memorandums requesting hike in auto fares. When the patience was taken for granted for two hours, they voiced out their concerns and flayed the district administration.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, an auto rickshaw driver said that the auto drivers earn for 14 hours a day and still, they cannot manage to have a decent living due to inflation. “We came here in great hope, thinking that our problems will be addressed. However, reality is different," he said.

Bharatiya Mazdur Sangha District President Vishwanath Shetty said that more than 100 auto drivers have been waiting for two hours. "Every minute is precious for us. We have lost customers, due to the district administration's negligence," he said.

Federation of Karnataka Auto Rickshaw Drivers Union (FKARDU) General Secretary L T Suvarna said that if the meeting was delayed, the administration should have intimidated the auto drivers. “This is sheer negligence and should never repeat again,” he said.

South Canara District Auto Drivers Union President Vishnu Murthy said that the auto rickshaw drivers should not walk away. "We should not move from here till our problems are addressed and solutions are sought," he said.

Meanwhile, Nagarika Hitharakshana Vedike President Hanumanth Kamath said that he will question the DC for coming late. “Public should not be taken for granted," he said.

Demands

Four auto rickshaw driver unions, namely Mangalore City Auto Rickshaw Drivers Union, Federation of Karnataka Auto Rickshaw Drivers Union DK District, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike Auto Rickshaw Unit and Motar and General Mazdur Sangha submitted their demands through a memorandum.

The Unions demanded that the minimum auto rickshaw fare has to be revised from the present Rs 17 to Rs 24. For every extra kilometre after the minimum fare, Rs 16 should be charged. There should be a 20 per cent hike from the present rate for wait time and extra luggage.

"The fares have to be revised. We cannot manage with the present inflation. The fuel price, repair charges, prices of auto rickshaw parts have all shot up," said FKARDU General Secretary L T Suvarna.

D K District Auto Rickshaw Chalakara Sangha submitted a memorandum stating that RTO has kept a minimum of Rs 10 and a maximum of Rs 100 is charged to revise auto rickshaw meters (unserviced metres).

"This is too costly. Only a minimum of Rs 10 should be charged," demanded the association members.

They also expressed their concern over the functioning of illegal rickshaws. RTO should keep a watchful eye and number the rickshaws according to permits.

Later, the meeting was held in spite of delay. Deputy Commissioner N Prakash has assured to take the decision on the demands soon.

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