Commuter groups demand 'apolitical' representation
The state government has been accused of delaying the appointment of commuter representative to the District Transport Authority (DTA) committee which is responsible for taking important decisions like fare hike for public and private transport bodies.
Commuter groups have alleged that ‘political interference’ has delayed the process and issues such as fare hikes affect the end user directly, thus his participation is of utmost importance. Commuter representative Vivek Velankar of Sajag Nagrik Manch said, “The government officials on DTA committee take important decisions regarding traffic issues and fare hikes without consulting us commuters or taking into consideration our view point. This is a serious issue and needs to be addressed on an urgent basis.”
The DTA committee was formed three years ago after the Regional Transpport Authority was dissolved. For last three years DTA has been devoid of a commuter representative due to political reasons. There is infighting between the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party leaders to have their candidates selected for this post. However, we request the government to immediately appoint some ‘apolitical’ representative on this committee,” Velankar said.
The DTA in its present form is a three-member committee, which comprises of the district collector, regional transport officer and deputy commissioner of traffic police of the city. The collector heads this panel, which is authorised to take several important decisions of fare restructuring, fare hike of auto rickshaws, PMPML etc.
Appointment of commuter representative on DTA will lend a voice to common citizens on various traffic issues. Whenever the auto unions or PMPML authorities demand a fare hike or revision, commuter representatives can object or consent to their demands.
The commuters can also hold these officials and union representatives accountable for any misconduct or other issues by the city bus drivers, conductors or auto drivers. DCP Traffic Vishwas Pandhare said, “This move will help in putting forth the problems faced by regular commuters while using public and private transport systems. A few days back we had held back our decision of hiking auto fares citing lack of commuter representatives.”
Pune RTO Arun Yeola on Tuesday had called commuter representatives to hear their opinions on the issue of auto fare hike. Velankar — who attended this meeting -- said, “We have conveyed our stand to the RTO and have not objected to the fare hike as per guidelines of Hakim Committee. However, we have asked the RTO to take strict action against auto drivers who refuse short distance fares and overcharge commuters on certain long routes.” The final decision about auto fare hike will be taken later, Velankar added.
This move will help in putting forth the problems faced by regular commuters while using public and private transport systems. A few days ago we had held back our decision of hiking auto fares citing lack of commuter representatives.
-- Vishwas Pandhare, DCP (Traffic)
The decision and authority of appointing any commuter representative lies with the state government. I have also requested the government to fill this post as soon as possible.
-- Vikas Deshmukh, Collector