Fresh fare list for autos: an exercise in futility

Fresh fare list for autos: an exercise in futility

SRINAGAR: Regional Transport Office Kashmir has released a fresh list of auto-rickshaw fares in the valley, a ritual the department has been performing for years without any effect on ground.
“Auto drivers do not run meters so how will the rate list help?” said Sanaullah, a resident of Batamaloo.
“There should have been a mobile team of officials who can punish violators on the spot,” he said.
According to a press statement of the Motor Vehicles Department, Rs 17 has been fixed as fare payable for the first kilometre and Rs 13 for each subsequent kilometre.
Further, waiting charges have been fixed at Rs 25 per hour. Charges are applicable for luggage up to 25 kgs. An additional amount, which is 25 per cent of the fare, will be charged for the luggage more than 25 kgs.
RTO Kashmir Farooq Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that the department cannot keep a “man after every autowalla to check whether he adheres to the rate list or not”.
“I have only nine men in office who are supposed to administer the department, issue registration certificates and licenses. It is not possible for us to go after every auto rickshaw walla. We have kept phone numbers in case there is any complaint. If people cannot make a call, what can I do,” he said.
Asked how the phone call would ensure the adherence to the rate list when the department has only nine employees for the task, he said, “Action will be taken, else the autowalla should go to hell.” He then hung up the phone and did not respond to repeated calls made by this reporter.
There are 9,000 autowallas registered with the government and only 5,000 have meters.
Last year autowallas were divided over charging passengers as per the metre reading. One group observed a strike and resolutely refused to operate meters.

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