RTO finalising issue of autorickshaw permits

Staff Reporter

KOCHI: The Regional Transport Office (RTO) is finalising issue of permits to autorickshaws for operating within city limits. This has been a contentious issue for long, especially after the city police started a drive for flushing out criminal elements among autorickshaw drivers.

Those employed in the sector have been complaining that absence of a proper licensing mechanism is helping criminals to come in and leave the city at will in the guise of drivers.

The RTO initiated a check for verifying the status of existing permits and found 1,050 of them are not being used. That many vehicles were found not plying.

"We held discussions with representatives of trade unions. They had been demanding that their suggestions also be heard before taking a decision. The final report on this issue will be presented at the next meeting of the Road Transport Authority," said M.N. Prabhakaran, Ernakulam Regional Transport Officer. The meeting is on January 31.

The RTO introduced a colour pattern for vehicles that were given permits. But no action has been taken to restrict those without permits from operating inside the city limits. "That more than 1,000 permits could be `vacant' shows that the city is short of vehicles. So, unauthorised vehicles will be stopped from entering the city only after permits are issued; or else, the public will be put to hardship," Mr. Prabhakaran said.

The RTO is also planning to start four pre-paid counters. These counters, coming up at two railway stations, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus stand and the private bus stand at Kaloor, will feature modern facilities. The pre-paid systems at bus terminals were long defunct and those at railway stations were affected following Southern Railway reintroducing fee for using railway premises. The RTO has now taken up the issue with Southern Railway. "We wrote to the General Manager, requesting to give concessions in the fees. Our request is being processed," Mr. Prabhakaran said.

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