Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday announced concessions to auto-rickshaw drivers, as he said he shared a “dil se dil ka rishta” with them and couldn’t forget the crucial role they played in helping the Aam Aadmi Party’s performance in the Assembly elections.
The concessions include formulating three conditions for impounding vehicles, yearly revision of fares and granting the right of “refusal” in the evening. From the commuters’ point of view, the Chief Minister asked the auto-rickshaw drivers to stop overcharging. He announced that a “behaviour training programme” would be started for the drivers to help them in dealing with commuters, especially women and foreigners.
While sources in the Transport Department said they “organised the event to facilitate a meeting of aggrieved auto-rickshaw drivers with the Chief Minister to put forth their grievances”, the event ended up becoming a rally.
A few thousand auto-rickshaw and light commercial vehicle drivers attended the event, where Mr. Kejriwal thanked the auto-drivers for their support to his party and slammed the Opposition, the Solicitor-General, the Lieutenant-Governor and the media for creating hurdles before the Jan Lokpal Bill. He reiterated that his government would pass the Bill.
Mr. Kejriwal warned the Capital’s power discoms that “they would be thrown out and new companies would be roped in, if they resort to unnecessary power outages”.
Addressing the concerns of the auto-drivers, Mr. Kejriwal said his government had decided to restrict the conditions of vehicle impoundment to three.
“I have received several complaints that auto-rickshaws are impounded even for minor violations under Section the 66/192-A [of the Motor Vehicles Act]. We have now decided that vehicles would be impounded only if the owner does not have a permit, a valid license or a fitness certificate,” said Mr. Kejirwal.
The Chief Minister also announced the creation of a mechanism to revise — both upwards and downwards — the fare of auto-rickshaws on an yearly basis in April, depending on the prevailing rate of inflation. Mr. Kejriwal announced that the government was working on a policy to reduce the cost of installing GPS devices.
Speaking about allegations against auto-rickshaw drivers by commuters, Mr. Kejirwal asked them not to overcharge and unnecessarily refuse to tender their services.
“Life of honesty is very peaceful. You should not overcharge commuters. As far as the issue of refusal is concerned, we are forming a policy, wherein, if an auto driver while returning home in the evening puts up a placard on the auto informing about the direction, the driver would not be charged for refusal,” he said.