Srinagar, Aug 01: After protesting for the past three days at Lal Chowk, the E-Rickshaw drivers on Tuesday agreed to end their protest after assurance from the traffic police department. Officials from the traffic police met the drivers at the site of the protest to negotiate an end to their demonstration.
The drivers had been protesting the seizure of their vehicles and the ban on them to ply the main streets in Srinagar.
Mushtaq Ahmad, an E-Rickhaw driver said, “We used to ply from Dalgate to Jahangir Chowk. Traffic Cops seized our auto in Sangarmal. If we really cause any traffic issues, people can tell us. We will stop to ply on any route.”
"I have taken out a loan against my wife’s ornaments to buy this auto and now they are not letting us run them. How will I repay the loan and feed my family? Khan questioned.
Another driver said if these autos are not allowed to ply then how government is giving them green signal. He alleged that they were being harassed and out of the 120 state-issued autos, 60 are under siege at Samgarmal by the traffic officials.
Talking to reporters, SSP Traffic, Srinagar, Muzaffar Ahmad Shah said that traffic police had taken such measures to maintain the traffic in the city and ensure the safety of the passengers.
“The E-Rickshaw Drivers have their designated routes but unfortunately, they tend to ply M.A. Road which is already very congested. On top of that, they overload their vehicles with passengers and overcharge them. We have received a lot of complaints regarding this matter”, he said.
Shah said many of these autos are unregistered and can pose a threat to the passengers’ safety. The drivers are welcome to protest and if they want a meeting, they can meet me but these issues need to be taken care of. They unnecessarily stop at junctions and corners creating traffic problems”, he added.
On Tuesday, before ending the protest, the drivers had a chat with traffic police officials where they confessed to overloading and sometimes deviating from designated routes.
According to the official guidelines, no E-Rickshaw can ply the Tengpora to Sonwar route. While talking to the drivers, the official reiterated that an e-rickshaw can only onboard four passengers at a time and the official rate is Rs. 15 for three kilometers with an addition of Rs. 5 every subsequent kilometer.
He assured that the E-Rickshaw drivers would not face any sort of problem if they follow the four rules, i.e., “No overloading, no overcharging, plying the designated routes only and not stopping unnecessarily at junctions and corners.”
The drivers who had been earlier sloganeering against the traffic police were then heard raising slogans in praise of the SP and the traffic police.