Saturday, September 19, 2009

Autodrivers don't want to go green

Autodrivers don't want to go green
By: Madhusudan Maney Date: 2009-09-18 Place: Bangalore

Say the new rule asking them to repaint their autos with new colours will mean additional expenditure and days without earnings

Autorickshaw drivers in the city are reluctant to fall in line with the government's new rule and change colours.

According to the notification, autos with four-stroke engines, LPG kits and digital meters have to be painted green with a cream top in place of the present black-and-yellow combination on or before the date on which the fitness certificate is to be renewed.

Eco friendly: This is what the government would like autos to look like file pic

The Auto Drivers' Association has condemned the move and is asking the government to extend the deadline.
Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers' Association president Manjunath is angry that the government did not bring the notification to their notice before finalising it.

He wants the government to bear the cost of painting all vehicles, not just LPG/four stroke vehicles.

"Many drivers have bought the auto recently. How can they once again change the colour? It costs around Rs 12,000 and they will have to remove the top, change wires/cables etc. Apart from that, it takes about 10-12 days to paint the vehicle. What happens to their livelihood? Many live on their day-to-day earnings."

Sad situation

For instance, autodriver Satish Kumar already has the burden of paying back his bank loan and cannot afford the additional expenditure of painting.

Autodriver Rajendra Kumar agrees. "If I don't work for a day, I will have to suffer a lot and it becomes difficult for me to run the family. There are many such autodrivers who can't afford to sit idle at home even for a day," he said.

Another driver, Rehman Khan, said, "Many times, I've pledged my RC book at the petrol bunk. I pay the money later and get the RC book. This is the situation of some of the autodrivers in the city. They are completely dependent on their autorickshaws."

According to traffic expert M N Srihari, "There is no point in painting autos with four-stroke engines, LPG kits and digital fare meters green. All autos should be made environment-friendly. Only then can they think of changing the colour, otherwise it doesn't make any sense.

"There are about 1.25 lakh autos in the city, of which only 80,000 have legal permits. Many autos have registrations from other states and many run on kerosene, a major polluter. The government should first take care of such irregularities," he added.


Transport commissioner Bhaskar Rao said, "There will be a change in the notification shortly. After the autorickshaw drivers' unions' objection, we will have to talk to the government and come to a conclusion soon.

This was planned to make it easy for commuters to get into a pollution-free auto for a comfortable ride," he added.


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