Following intensified checking of autorickshaw meter charges by the traffic police, the autorickshaw drivers’ unions have decided to go on a one-day strike on Thursday.

On an average, every day, around 30 autorickshaws are impounded across the city for not going by the meter. The transport department and the traffic police began their crackdown mid-May.

Earlier, errant autorickshaw drivers were expected to pay a fine of Rs. 500, but now the transport department has decided to impound the vehicles of such drivers, said an official from the department.

The autorickshaws are impounded for 10 days, and sometimes the release is delayed by a couple of days. Earlier, when the penalty was only a fine, most autorickshaw drivers would pay up and then continue to overcharge passengers.

Now, with more stringent action, the department hopes drivers will pay more heed to the meter rule, said the official. On Sunday, eight autorickshaw unions got together and decided to submit a petition to Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa asking that the fine be reduced.

According to M.S. Rajendran, general secretary of Tamil Nadu Auto Driver Federation (CITU), leaders of AITUC, CITU, LPF, Pattali Thozhil Sangal, Good Will, INTUC, INODA and Thozhilalar Viduthalai Munnani have decided their members will not ply their autorickshaws on Thursday to protest the transport department’s move.

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