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'I will show you our might'

On day 40 of MiD DAY's Meter Down campaign, errant driver threatens traffic cop and journalist covering the campaign; gangs up with other drivers who were penalised for refusing to ferry short distance fares

Place: Outside Borivli Station (East)
Time: 9.30 am-11.30 am
Offenders caught: 5
Commuters speak
Sarvesh Parekh said, "The rickshaw drivers here, are totally disinterested in plying short distance fares. My mother was left stranded at the station for over 45 minutes. Fed up of listening to refusals, she finally called and requested me to come from office and drop her home. The drivers have zero humanity. They don't even consider that the passenger is an elderly person."

Sahil Dixit said, "With several out-station trains halting at Borivli, drivers are keen on plying those getting off these trains, because they can fleece these passengers easily. Hence they snub short distance fares."

Mansi Thakker said, "After having enough of their refusals to ferry me to nearby locations, I've started covering these destinations on foot."


Back off: Shankar Pawar created a ruckus, and threatened the cops and
 the reporter during the campaign. Pic/MAHESH CHAFE


Auto driver speaks
On being caught for refusing to ply a passenger, rickshaw driver Santosh Saw, said, "I was on my way to a garage to fix a technical snag, and hence was looking for a fare in that direction."

Spot of bother
Justifying his refusal to ply a short distance fare, Pradeep Dubey said, "Since the brakes are not functioning properly, I refused to ferry the passenger." However, when constable Balasaheb Pansare checked the brakes for their efficiency, Dubey's lie was busted and his licence was confiscated.

Padam Singh who refused to ply three passengers to nearby destinations, readily agreed to ply a long-distance fare. However, when Pansare confronted him, Singh said, "My meter is half-down and I cannot be booked for refusal." Unimpressed by his lame excuse, Pansare seized his licence.

Infuriated by this incident, Singh created a ruckus. Joining him was a fellow driver, Shankar Pawar.  The duo then ganged up against Pansare and the reporter covering the campaign and threatened them of dire consequences if they continue to report/catch hold of those drivers refusing to ply passengers. An angry Pawar said, "I will show you the might of auto drivers if you don't stop penalising them for refusals."

Text: Nivedita Dargalkar

Place: BARC Junction
Time: 9.30 am-11.30 am
Offender caught: 1
Commuter speaks
Simnu Suresh, who was waiting to hire a rickshaw to BARC colony, said, "Since the traffic officials are taking action against errant drivers, the number of vehicles inside the colony has decreased. I've been waiting here for the past 10 minutes and when I asked a driver for a fare to Mankhurd station, he ignored me."


In the dock: A rogue driver being fined for refusing to ply a short
distance fare.
Pic/ Pradeep Dhivar


Auto driver speaks
Vinay Kumar Singh: "Few of my colleagues told me that the traffic officials are catching rickshaw drivers for refusal and several other reasons, so be alert. However, I have to earn money, so I moved towards BARC colony. The lady asked me for a fare to Mankhurd, but because I prefer plying within the colony limits, I refused her. Unfortunately, the cops noticed it and caught me."

Text: Faisal G Tandel

Place: Sion Junction
Time: 10 am-11.30 am
Offenders caught:  3
Commuters speak
Ganesh Chande, who was refused a fare to BKC, said, "Being a short distance fare, rickshaws never agree to ply to BKC. We are fed up of this arrogant behaviour exhibited by the drivers."

Amita Nair said, "It took me over 30 minutes to find an auto that was ready to ferry me to Andheri."

Auto drivers speak
Birendra Kumar: "Since I'm unaware where BKC is, I refused the passenger. Believe me, I'm telling you the truth. Otherwise, why would I lose out on an opportunity to make money?"

Sunilkumar Yadav: "I had an urgent work to finish, hence I said no to the passenger."

Text: Vishakha Sonawane

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