The vexed issue of unauthorised autorickshaw stands in the city remains unresolved as authorities continue to grope in the dark over means to check their proliferation.

A proposal with civic authorities for reallocating autorickshaw stands in the city and limiting their parking capacity continues to gather dust over more than a year.

“The transport department approved the proposal as soon as it came for consideration. It is now up to the city corporation to implement it,” said B.J. Antony, RTO, Ernakulam.

Increasing city permits

The proliferation of unauthorised stands has been attributed to countless autorickshaws plying without valid city permits.

“We have recommended increasing the number of city permits to 7,500 from the existing 4,000. A final decision is now pending with the state government,” Mr. Antony said.

Illegal stands

The police department admits to over a hundred illegal autorickshaw stands occupying most service roads across the city, posing a nuisance to traders and commuters.

“Traders complain of illegal autorickshaw stands taking a toll on their business even as commuters find it tough to hire them at pre-paid counters in railway stations and bus stands,” said police officials.

Last year, a joint inspection team of the city corporation, Public Works Department and the police allotted space for 170 autorickshaw stands based on certain guidelines.

A decision to set up display boards indicating the details of the parking bays and the maximum number of vehicles that could be parked there was also taken then.

Adding to traffic jams

K.P. Valsalan, president, Kerala Bus Transport Association, said that unauthorised autorickshaw stands added to the traffic woes in the city, especially in areas where Kochi Metro works were progressing.

“This has taken a serious toll on the operation of bus services. Urgent action needs to be taken to check this,” he said.

Meanwhile, K.J. Sohan, chairman of the Town Planning Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation, felt that a permanent solution to the issue rests with the implementation of a Unified Metropolitian Transport Authority.

“This will enable the city corporation to frame laws based on the flexible character of city traffic and regulate the flourishing of unauthorised stands,” he said.

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