They stage demonstration, demanding rollback of fuel price hike
The city auto drivers’ unions have said they are ready to go by the meter if the tariff is revised in accordance with the recent fuel price hike.
Despite the Transport Commissioner’s stringent warning against erring auto drivers, there are several vehicles plying without meters. The auto drivers cite petrol price hike as reason.
On Tuesday, auto drivers staged a demonstration under the banner of Puduvai Auto Thozhilalar Nala Sangam urging the Centre to roll back the latest fuel price hike.
They said that during the previous UPA regime , fuel prices had been increased several times.
The BJP had vehemently opposed the hike at that time. However, after coming to power at the Centre, the NDA government was also adopting the same fuel policy of the UPA regime and had hiked petrol prices by Rs.1. 69 a litre.
K. Sethuselvam, general secretary of Puduvai Auto Thozhilalar Nala Sangam, said that the latest hike was a huge burden not only on auto drivers but also the public.
“It is unfair for the Transport Department not to take into account these fuel price hikes when it insists on implementing an order issued in 2013 fixing tariff,” he said.
Last December, the government issued an order fixing tariff rate for autorickshaw ride following several auto drivers associations’ representations and public demand.
As per the Government Order, for day service (5 a.m. to 10 p.m.), auto-drivers could charge a minimum of Rs. 25 from commuter for the first 1.8 km and Rs.15 for each additional km while the detention charge was fixed at Rs. 20 for every 30 minutes.
It also allowed auto-drivers to collect an additional charge of 50 per cent of the above rate during night hours (10 p.m. to 5 a.m.).
Even these fares were unacceptable to auto drivers, Mr. Sethu Selvam said. The associations of auto drivers had said that the fare should be fixed at Rs. 30 for the first 1.5 km and Rs. 20 for additional km and Rs. 30 waiting charge.
Since the time auto fare was fixed, the Union government has increased petrol price 30 times whereas the auto fare was not revised in accordance with that hike, Mr. Sethuselvam said.
“The tariff should be revised commensurate with the current scenario,” he added.