Saturday, September 23, 2006

Erring auto drivers may face the music

Erring auto drivers may face the music
The Hindu

Police are planning stern action against them

# Driver will have to pay a heavy fine if he refuses to take passengers to a particular destination
# Repeated violations may result in withdrawal of permits

Anil Kumar Sastry and

Govind D. Belgaumkar

BANGALORE: The police are thinking of a new strategy to make erring autorickshaw driversmend their ways.

An undercover policeman carrying a hidden video camera will film even as a colleague of his poses as a passenger. If the autorickshaw driver refuses to take the passenger to a particular destination, he may have to cough up Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 5,000.

If he repeats the mistake a second time, he may be jailed up to one year. Hitherto, the police could levy only a fine of Rs. 100 to Rs. 300 on autorickshaw drivers for refusing to take passengers to their destinations and for other violations. Now, they have been armed with a new notification bracketing such violations as serious.

However, the drivers may escape if they have "valid reasons" in refusing to ply. The notification does not define what constitutes a valid reason. Earlier, these violations were not serious under the Motor Vehicles Act. But now they are construed as violating the conditions imposed while giving permits to ply the three-wheelers. Repeated violations may mean withdrawal of the permits rendering the autorickshaw drivers jobless.

Other offences by the autorickshaws now bracketed as serious according to the notification are: failure to park at designated places in a queue; taking a circuitous route while ferry passengers; taking anyone other than those who have hired the autorickshaw; demanding excess fare; not using recommended fuel or LPG kit; failure to update change of address in RC books within 30 days and change of ownership within 14 days. The police will launch a drive in 10 days near bus stations and railway stations, particularly during early morning, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic-East) M.A. Saleem.

As per the notification, all autorickshaws already plying in the city have to follow the new norms, not just autorickshaws that take new permits.

The RTO officials have separately started an independent drive.Public may continue to register their complaints either through complaint card or through or by visiting Bangalore City Police The traffic police would act on these complaints, Mr. Saleem added.


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