Cases were registered against 797 autorickshaw drivers in the city and surrounding municipalities as part of the city police drive against autorickshaws running without functioning meters.

Police officers in the city corporation and neighbouring municipalities have been out on the streets since Saturday stopping autorickshaws and checking to see if they have installed meters and whether they are functional. Cases were registered against those found violating the norms and drivers were fined for disobeying the law. Police officers said close to Rs.80,000 was collected as fine during the drive.

“A large percentage of the offenders had installed meters in their vehicles. But these were either malfunctioning or not being operated. We are taking action against those violating the norms and will continue the drive in the coming days,” said V.M. Muhammed Rafeeque, deputy commissioner of police, Traffic and Law and Order.

Police officers were also seen advising the public to pay according to the meter. Officers instructed people to inform the police immediately in case they were asked to pay exorbitant fees by any autorickshaw driver. “The public can send us an SMS with the registration number of the vehicle or call us at the control room and we will take action,” DCP Rafeeque said. He said the public had a key role to play in enforcing the norm. “There are about 12,000 autorickshaws operating in the city and we had just about 200 police officers participating in the drive. The people have to decide that they will pay only the meter fare and take the initiative to inform the police,” he said.

Members of the Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union blocked the road at Edappally and toll junctions in protest against what they termed was harassment by the police. Union members alleged that the police were harassing them. The protest blocked traffic at the busy junctions for several minutes. Police removed the protestors and detained 39 of them from the two junctions.

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