Managing Director T. Selvaraj said that Makkal Auto was operating as per the 2007 State Government fixed fare structure of Rs. 14 as minimum fare and Rs. 6 as fare for every additional km.
Even as the city police arrested six autorickshaw drivers on charges of assaulting drivers and damaging two vehicles of Makkal Auto over the issue of meter fare, Makkal Auto on Tuesday announced that it would operate its services from Wednesday as per the meter fare fixed by the State Government in 2007.
T. Selvaraj, managing director of Makkal Auto, told reporters on Tuesday that Makkal Auto was operating its services as per the 2007 State Government fixed fare structure of Rs. 14 as minimum fare and Rs. 6 as fare for every additional km. Mr. Selvaraj said that 50-odd autorickshaws would not be a threat to wipe out thousands of autorickshaws as projected by the unions.
“I agree that the existing fare structure will not be viable, we are willing to operate our services and wait for the new fare structure to be announced.”
Mr. Selvaraj exhorted the members of the public to ensure protection for the drivers and autorickshaws that would be on the roads on Wednesday.
People could immediately inform the police in the event of any disturbance to Makkal Auto services.
The number of autorickshaws would go up from 38 to 50 shortly and over a period of time, depending on the public patronage and response. Once the fare revision comes into effect, the number of autorickshaws would be increased to 300, he added.
Meanwhile, in connection with the incidents on Monday, the police arrested M. Sathish (27) of Ganapathy and K. Arumugam (54) of Gandhi Maanaagar, Gunasekar (45) of Puliakulam, Subash Chandrabose (22) of Thondamuthur, Naushad (29) of Sai Baba Colony and Suresh (30) of Poochiyur.
Cases have been registered against them for unlawful assembly, wrongful restraint, criminal intimidation and attempt to murder and under the provisions of The Tamil Nadu Public Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act, 1992.
Autorickshaw drivers’ union representatives led by their general secretary P.K. Sugumaran presented a petition to the police seeking to stop the operation of Makkal Auto. Operation of autorickshaws as per the “unviable 2007 fare structure” was leading to unrest among the autorickshaw workers, the petition stated.
Meanwhile, City Police Commissioner A.K. Viswanathan said that nobody had the right to prevent autorickshaws that were operated as per the 2007 Government fixed fare structure till the new fare structure was announced.
If anybody tried to prevent the operation of autorickshaws that were plying as per the meter fare approved by the Government in 2007, the police would invoke the provisions of the Goondas Act against them for attempting to cause breach of public peace and tranquillity, he added.