‘Autowalas’ in Delhi refuse to mend their ways despite rigorous monitoring, as according to the Traffic Police the helpline meant for complaining on refusal gets at least 50 calls per day.
The latest data compiled by the Delhi Traffic Police has revealed that the number 100 and the helpline 1095 received around 1,700 calls in the month of November. Ninety per cent of the calls received are of refusal to take a passenger and ten per cent of them are of misbehaviour and over-charging.
According to traffic police officials, most of the complaints of refusal are received from market areas and places that are open till late in the night like Nehru Place market, Sarojini Nagar, South-Extension and places like Hauz Khas and Jangpura.
When a passenger calls up to complaint about an auto-driver refusing, the traffic policeman who is near the spot of call goes to the place to challan the auto-driver. The fine for refusal is Rs. 100, said a traffic official.
To know the ground reality, The Hindu spoke to a number of people staying in different parts of the Capital to find out if autos refuse to drop them and most of them responded with a ‘yes’.
We received mixed responses on the number of people calling the helpline as only some call up and others just give up and find some other means. Surprisingly, most of the people The Hindu spoke to also threatened to call the police but the auto-drivers still refused.
Salil, a resident of Jangpura said: “I have been staying in Jangpura for the last one year and getting an auto from that place is a big problem. I have threatened to call the cops a number of times but they still refuse. Once I wrote my experience on the Facebook page of Traffic Police but nothing happened.”
Another commuter, Somya of Hauz Khas said: “It is a struggle to get autos from my place. At times I have waited for more than 15 minutes to get one. Most autos I see either refuse to take me or overcharge. Even if they agree to go by the meter, they would want Rs. 10 or Rs. 20 extra.”
Speaking on the issue, Delhi Police Special Commissioner (Traffic) Taj Hassan said: “We are identifying the areas from where we get more calls on auto-drivers refusing to take passengers and will deploy more traffic policemen in those places.”
The number of TSRs should be increased to cater to the city’s population. At present, the number is just 85,000.
Auto-drivers who do not wish to take a passenger should display the sign of ‘Not Available’. It will help commuters as they will not approach those vehicles. The autos should be colour-coded according to specific areas where they ply and then the auto drivers should not be forced to go to areas that are very far.