Automen go off the roads; cops come to aid of passengers

Transport operators stage a snap stir opposing recent hike in auto LPG price

 The first day of the new year on Wednesday was a harrowing experience for many passengers, after autorickshaws in the city refused to ply.

The transport operators staged a snap stir in protest against the steep hike of Rs 11.30 in the per kg price of auto LPG cylinders from Rs 55.21 per kg to Rs 66.51. They also wanted a revision in the minimum fare, matching with the auto LPG hike.

The autorickshaws stayed off the roads from around 10 am up to 2 pm after learning that the revised price has been effected from Tuesday midnight. As a result most of the transport operators refused to pick up the passengers, especially near KSRTC sub-urban bus stand on Bangalore- Nilgiri road and railway station on JLB road.

Sensing trouble, Police Commissioner M A Saleem instructed the traffic policemen to divert as many jeeps as possible to ferry the passengers especially children, women and aged persons at both the places to their respective destinations.

Initially, the policemen dropped the people to their doorsteps. However, when the volume of passengers increased, it was decided the passengers would be dropped to the nearby bus stops or the city bus stand on New Sayyaji Rao road to facilitate their journey, the Commissioner added.

Petition

The autorickshaw drivers, including those from the five pre-paid counters in the city met both the Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner C Shikha, also the chairperson of Regional Transport Authority (RTA) to look into their demand for revising the minimum fare from the existing Rs 20 to Rs 25 keeping with the recent hike.

Secretary of the Federation of Mysore City and District Autorickshaw Drivers Associations B T Raja blamed the deputy commissioner for forcing the three-wheelers to take the protest route. It was only after Mysore and Kodagu MP A H Vishwanath intervened by instructing the Deputy Commissioner over phone to look into the demands, did the officer agree.

Raja said that Shikha had promised to convene a meeting of RTA within 10 days to take a call on the demands.

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