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'I was desperate to answer nature's call'

On day 54 of MiD DAY's Meter Down campaign; hapless travellers  were given petty reasons by rogue auto drivers for refusing short distance fares

Place: Borivli Station (East and West)
Time: 9.30 am-11.30 am and 6 pm-7.30 pm
Offenders caught: 7
Commuters speak
Ratan Ranvah said, "I'm suffering from arthritis and can't stand for too long. Despite requesting the drivers, none of them were ready to ferry me. Wasting 30 minutes at the station to find an auto has become a daily chore."

Sheetal Deokar said, "I don't understand why these rickshaw drivers refuse short distances stating that they don't know the route. How come they are  familiar only with the long distance routes?"


Oh my god! An autorickshaw driver curses his luck after he was fined
for refusing to ply a short distance. Pic/ Mahesh Chafe


Auto drivers speak
Amritlal Pal: "For dropping the passenger to his desired destination, it would have required me to take a U-turn. Hence, I refused to ply the passenger."

Sanjeev Gupta: "I thought there is an auto stand nearby and was heading for it. Hence I said no to the passenger."

Spot of bother
The on-duty traffic constables apprehended auto driver Rameshnath Pandey for continuously refusing short distance fares.

In his defence, Pandey said, "I refused to ply the passenger because I wanted to visit a relative of mine who has been recently hospitalised."

However, when officer S G Tandel countered his justification, by questioning him that if he was in such a hurry, then why was he accosting passengers, Pandey kept mum.

Later, the auto driver was booked for refusal and his licence was confiscated. 
Text: Nivedita Dargalkar

Place: BARC Junction
Time: 10 am-12 pm
Offenders caught: 3
Commuters speak
Vijay Bhorade said, "BARC is such a beautiful place, but it becomes worse when commuters have to wait for long to find an auto."
Vinayak Misad said, "Since these drivers are aware that the buses are crowded during peak hours, they exploit this opportunity to fleece passengers and choose to ply only long distance fares."


Pardon me sir: An auto driver pleads with the traffic cops to spare his
licence.
Pic/Mahesh Chafe


Auto drivers speak
Haridas Bhimrao Sargar: "My vehicle has developed a technical snag. Since I was on my way to a garage, I refused to ply the passenger."

Text: Dimpi Thakkar

Place: Sion Junction
Time: 10 am-11.30 am
Offenders caught: 2
Commuters speak
Ajay Goswami said, "I had to go to Bandra and was waiting at the junction for the past 30 minutes to find an auto. However, none of the drivers were interested in ferrying me."

Nityanand Koli said, "I don't understand why do these drivers even bother to ask us where we have to go if they don't want to ply us."

Auto drivers speak
Gulab Shinde: "I have a headache and wanted to buy medicine. However, the cops nabbed me the moment I halted the vehicle outside a medical store. Now tell me, is it my fault?"

Ismail Mohammad Yusuf: "Believe me, I was in a hurry to answer nature's call. Hence I refused the passenger who wanted to travel to nearby destination."

Text: Vishakha Sonawane

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