Bengaluru

Auto drivers demand in hike in fare

Members of Karnataka Akshara Dasoha Noukarara Sangha (midday meal) took out a rally on Wednesday from city railway station to Freedom Park demanding a hike in salary and pension.   | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

A day after road transport corporations and anganwadi workers held rallies in the city, autorickshaw drivers and midday meal workers staged protests on Wednesday. Ahead of the budget, scheduled to be announced on March 8, auto drivers took out a rally from KSR Bengaluru railway station to Freedom Park demanding that the State government hike the fare to ₹36 for the first two kilometres and ₹18 for each subsequent kilometre. The existing fare structure is not sufficient in the backdrop of the steep hike in fuel cost and other expenses, they said.

B.V. Raghavendra, president of Federation of Karnataka Auto Rickshaw Drivers Union affiliated to CITU, said that a memorandum has been submitted to the government. Among their other demands are the formation of a welfare board and housing facilities. “Auto drivers cannot afford to rent houses in the city, and are forced to find accommodation on the outskirts. In the past, announcements had been made about providing housing facilities, but nothing has been implemented,” he said.

The protesters also demanded that the Transport Department issue fitness certificates to two-stroke autos. Those willing to switch to electric autos must get subsidies from the Centre and the State, and affordable loans from banks, they said.

“After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government had announced compensation of ₹5,000 for 7.5 lakh auto and taxi drivers in the State, but only 2.15 lakh drivers received the amount. The government should extend the benefit by relaxing the rules for the remaining auto and taxi drivers,” Mr. Raghavendra added.

One of the other major demands is to allow them to operate in a 25-km radius of the city.

‘Free travel for women in buses’

The Bus Prayanikara Vedike has demanded that the State government announce free travel for women in BMTC buses in the upcoming budget. In a proposal sent to the government, the Vedike said, “Delhi’s move to make travel free for women was popular and widely appreciated as it reduced cost for urban poor households.”

The Vedike has also demanded that the government fast track implementation of bus priority lanes in the city, and provide funds for induction of 3,000 new buses as well as financially support the cash-strapped BMTC.

“A widely accessible and affordable public transport service cannot be financed through just fare collection. This is true the world over. The government needs to provide viability gap funding and other financial support measures,” states the letter.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 6:38:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/auto-drivers-demand-in-hike-in-fare/article33982869.ece

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