The Regional Transport Authority (RTA) will increase the autorickshaw fares in the city within a week, its chairman and Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada A.B. Ibrahim said.

Addressing a meeting of the authority in connection with revising the fares here on Tuesday, he said the interests of both consumers and autorickshaw drivers would be protected while revising the fares.

Various unions of autorickshaw drivers unanimously demanded to hike the minimum fare per 1.5 k.m. distance from Rs. 20 to Rs. 30 and the subsequent fare per a k.m. distance from Rs. 13 to Rs. 20.

The union leaders said that increase in auto liquefied petroleum gas price by Rs. 11.60 a litre from this month had hit them hard. The auto LPG now cost Rs. 62 a litre.

Ivan D’Souza, president, Mangalore City Auto rickshaw drivers’ association said the RTA revised the fares last on November 1, 2012. Since then till now the price of auto LPG had shot up by Rs. 22.27 a litre.

But the Deputy Commissioner said that according to the records with the authority the price of auto LPG shot up from Rs. 47 a litre on November 17, 2012 to Rs. 62 a litre now. There was an increase by Rs. 15 a litre, up 32 per cent.

Other union leaders said their demand for hike was also based on the rise in prices of spare parts since the last revision a year ago. Mr. Ibrahim said that prices of spare parts could have gone up by three per cent in the past one year.

Steep hike opposed

Opposing the steep hike demanded, G. Hanumantha Kamath, president, Nagarika Hitarakshana Samithi, Mangalore said the minimum fare should not be increased. The subsequent fare could be hiked by Rs. 2 to make it Rs. 15 per a k.m. distance.

He said that if the demand of the drivers was met fully it would hit the consumers hard.

Muneer Katipalla, president, Dakshina Kannada unit of Democratic Youth Federation of India, said the fares could be increased by up to 20 per cent.

He did not say specifically how much should be the minimum fare or the per kilometre distance rate.

Behaviour

Mr. Muneer took the drivers to task for not opposing the hike in oil and auto LPG prices and hike in food prices in hotels in the city, by staging protests and concentrating only on demanding hike in fares whenever oil or auto LPG prices were hiked.

Mr. Ibrahim also asked autorickshaw drivers to shun the habit of refusing to drive to the destinations asked by consumers. He told them to behave decently with consumers.

Except two organisations none of the consumer organisations attended the meeting. No representatives from any consumers’ forum, non-government organisation or other voluntary organisations were present.

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