‘METERED AUTOS NOT IN FASHION HERE’
If Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, any one of his cabinet colleague or even the senior most functionary of the Transport department would ever get an opportunity to board an auto rickshaw from railway station,bus station or any other location chances are that auto rickshaw driver would rob them of their fortune by charging hefty amount.
Contrary to this if the Youngest Chief Minister or any other VVIP would ride the same auto rickshaw and introduce themselves as a first time tourist to the city of temples there is every possibility that the same auto rickshaw driver would charge 100- 300 more for the same destination and try to take maximum advantage of the helpless visitor.
All this is happening in the city of temples because no auto rickshaw driver on ground is charging the fixed rate on different routes. There is hardly one auto rickshaw driver who is following the rate list prescribed by the regional transport authorities on different routes.
Ironically, in a city which is frequented by thousands of visitors/tourists each day the auto rickshaw drivers do not want to make use of meters fitted in their auto rickshaws nor any transport authority has ever carried out a drive to slap penalties in the name of defaulters to set right the system.Recently a cosmetic exercise was carried out by the traffic police authorities but things remain the same on ground zero.
Ironically, the unholy nexus between the auto rickshaw drivers and transport authorities is flourishing right under the watchful eyes of transport authorities and other vested interests.
If a survey is conducted across the city it would come to the notice of surveyors that most of the auto rickshaws were not sticking to the rate list and brazenly duping the commuters and charging exorbitantly without inviting any penalty. In some cases if ever a police complaint lodged or tourist police is informed by the more aware commuters instead of taking stern action against the defaulter auto rickshaw driver the tourist police men try their level best to convince the tourists not to take notice of these petty things on their holiday and enjoy their stay.
It is for this reason the auto rickshaw drivers have never been penalised and openly robbing the commuters. We can only hope next time Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is ready to step out of his official residence he makes up his mind to travel in an auto rickshaw for a first hand experience.