RTO seeks increase in number of permits

Streamlining of the autorickshaw services in the city may be delayed as the verification of the city permits issued earlier is yet to be completed.

Regional Transport Authority officials said that it may take at least one more week to verify how many vehicles that had earlier obtained city permits were still plying in the city. The authorities had issued 4,000 permits for autorickshaws to operate in the city a few years ago. The initial assessment is that around 1,500 which secured permits are still being operated in the city, said T.J. Thomas, Regional Transport Officer (RTO), Ernakulam.

Relocation of stands

The Kochi Corporation had initiated a drive to regularise the vehicle service and relocation of the stands following a series of complaints of unruly behaviour of drivers by passengers.

There were also allegations that some were fleecing passengers.

The transport authorities are of the view that opportunities should be given to the vehicles that are in operation to retain their permits. The officials of the department are in the process of verification of vehicles. The allocation of new permits can be considered only after the completion of the scrutiny, he said.

Meanwhile, the RTO has written to the State government to enhance the number of city permits for autorickshaws. Kochi needs at least 7,000 permits for catering to the needs of the passengers. In addition to the 4,000 issued earlier, 3,000 more need to be issued and it would require the permission of the State government to enhance the numbers, he said.

While issuing permits, preference will be given to those residing in the city and those drivers who own the vehicles. There would also be other preference groups like ex-servicemen and those who are employed as drivers under the Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana, Mr. Thomas said.

Mayor Tony Chammany said that the civic body was waiting for the scrutiny to be over for moving ahead with the scheme.

Once the process is over, the corporation will convene a meeting of the officials concerned and also the representatives of the drivers. Going by the progress of the assessment, the meeting may be convened after Onam holidays, he said.

Action against drivers

The Regional Transport Officer said that the driving licence of 10 autorickshaw drivers was suspended for six months in past two months for unruly behaviour and fleecing passengers.

Any complaints of misbehaviour or overtaxing can be communicated to the RTO at 9447706125. Complaints can also be mailed to the official at kl07@keralamvd.gov.in , Mr. Thomas said.

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