Deadline of 20 days served; they must obey orders or face action: SSP Traffic
Auto drivers across the city have expressed resentment after the Traffic police issued directions asking them to recalibrate the meters of their auto rickshaws within 20 days. The drivers said that government has is ‘imposing things without checking the ground reality.’
Traffic Police Srinagar in a communiqué directed the auto drivers to recalibrate their meters as they charge the passengers exorbitantly, however the auto drivers plying in the city said the decision is being forced by the authorities and if they abiding by it would affect their business.
As confirmed by the Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Kashmir, only 1500 auto rickshaws operate with recalibrated fare meters and the rest are plying simply against the traffic norms.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Traffic, Srinagar, Al-Tahir Gilani said, “All auto rickshaw drivers have been informed through the notification that they should get the meters recalibrated within 20 days else face strict action.”
Gilani said that most of the rickshaws are plying illegally in the city as it is mandatory to have fare meters functional and passengers should also contribute to make the move successful by not travelling in an auto without fare meter.
“We have given them 20 days and all the auto drivers should install fare meters. Otherwise violators would have to face strict action as per the Motor Vehicles Act,” he said.
However, the auto drivers in Srinagar city have expressed dismay over the order.
“Installing meters will never help us; the government should see the ground reality first. We have some issues which are neglected by the government for many years now and that is the reason why auto drivers are violating the fare rules,” said Abdur Rashid, an auto driver at Khanyar.
Rashid said the government should revise the fare as they don’t charge as per the distance but the area they are travelling to.
“Our families are dependent on us and we have no other source of income except these auto-rickshaws. Also, the fact that fares have remained unchanged despite the continuous hike in fuel prices and the cost of spare parts is also high,” Rashid added.
People have welcomed the step taken by the Traffic authorities as they believe auto drivers charge exorbitant rates.
“Despite having set the rate of 18 rupees for the first kilometer, the auto-drivers charge us around Rs 30 for the same and recalibrating meters would be justice for all,” said Muhammad Owais, a commuter.