Auto drivers withdraw stir

Auto drivers withdraw stir

Warned against charging more than minimum fare

The three-day long protest by autorickshaw drivers against the revised auto fare, in the City was withdrawn, at a meeting held in Mangaluru on Friday evening.

Horata Samithi Member Vishnumurthy said the protest was withdrawn following an assurance from District-in-Charge Minister Ramanath Rai, who, in turn, agreed to solve the problem after holding talks with the Deputy Commissioner.

“The samithi is carrying out legal fight against the revised fare. The Court has asked the DC to submit documents pertaining to the fare revision meeting held on January 9,” he said quoting their advocate.

“The auto drivers will continue to collect minimum fare of Rs 25 and Rs 14 for subsequent fare per km distance. However, we will not force passengers to pay Rs 25. If they wish to pay minimum fare of Rs 20, we will accept. We want to ensure that no inconveneince is met at the general public,” said Francis, one of the representatives of drivers.

On the other hand, Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim said that the decision of the RTA is final. “Action will be initiated against the drivers who charge more than the minimum fare fixed by the RTA. Let the auto drivers work with service mind and keeping the interest of the public. No directions have come from the court.”

Earlier speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the emergency RTA meeting, the DC warned auto drivers that if the auto unions do not withdraw the strike, the RTA will cancel the district magistrate’s notification on not allowing autos from the rural areas to enter the city.

“All autorickshaws will be given permits to operate anywhere in Mangalore taluk. Apart from this those who wish to operate would also be given protection,”  he said.

The time for recalibration will be relaxed for next three months. “If the unions feel that the district administration has done injustice by reducing the fare after three months, then we will relook into the revised fare,” the DC said.

The DC said that the petrol price has come down by 19 per cent and LPG kit used in auto by 41 per cent. Going by the LPG rate, the auto fare should have been Rs 15. “The RTA has reduced the minimum fare only by 20 per cent and per kilometre running fare by seven per cent.”

The auto drivers said that the prices of essential commodities have increased drastically. The district administration should not consider only the decrease in fuel prices while revising the fare. The price of food in hotels have increased three to four times from the last revision.

SP Sharanappa said, “the district administration has respect towards the profession of auto drivers. Cost of business of auto drivers and public interest were taken into account while revising the fare.”

Helpline number

When the public complained on rude behaviour and refusing to travel to a particular destination by the auto drivers, the DC said that the RTA will work out a mechanism to address the grievances of the public. A helpline number would be started to enable the public to file a complaint against erring auto drivers.