Police crackdown to continue, Collector assures study on city limit

The indefinite auto strike in Kochi and surrounding municipalities was called off by workers’ unions on Sunday evening. The decision followed a meeting of union representatives with the District Collector and police officers here on Sunday.

The striking workers’ had demanded an end to what they termed as ‘police harassment.’ They also demanded that the authorities redraw the city area limit, outside which passengers have to pay more than the meter charge. As per the government rules, autor drivers can charge only the meter fare within the Kochi corporation area. Outside the corporation limits, they can charge an additional 50 per cent on the difference between the fare and minimum charge. The drivers said the corporation area was too large and that district officials should revise the limits for the city considering the high traffic.

Union leaders said Collector P.I. Sheikh Pareeth had assured them that a study would be conducted to assess the issue within 15 days. He reportedly told them that any decisions on the issue would be subject to the rules prescribed by the government.

“The Collector has assured us that the police harassment will end. The police sometimes stops us for checking as many as three times during one trip. They were harassing us simply based on an SMS. They also did not check from where the trip began and would tell the passenger to pay only the meter fare. We are allowed to charge an additional sum outside the city limits,” said P.B. Latheesh, office-bearer of the INTUC.

The police had begun three weeks ago a special drive against auto drivers who violated rules by operating without running a functional meter.

Crackdown to continue

Deputy Commissioner of Police V.M. Muhammed Rafeeque said there was no change in the police’s stand and they would continue checking whether autorickshaw drivers were charging customers as per the rules prescribed by the Motor Vehicles Department.

The public can contact the Traffic West Assistant Commissioner at 9497990067 and Assistant Commissioner Traffic East at 9497990068 for complaints.

People can also contact DCP Rafeeque on 9497996986.

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