RTO asks Navi Mumbai auto drivers to install CNG kits; minimum fare to go from Rs 14 to Rs 11 starting November 1
Even as auto drivers in Mumbai hold the city to ransom regularly over a hike in auto fare, auto unions in Navi Mumbai have welcomed the RTO move of imposing CNG fares in the area.
Commuters in Mumbai had a hard time during the flash auto strike
called by drivers last month. file pic
Currently, autos in Navi Mumbai charge Rs 14 for the first 1.6 kilometre as compared to Rs 11 charged in Mumbai. But after complaints about higher auto fare from angry commuters, the deputy regional transport office in Navi Mumbai has sent a letter to the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Transport Authority (MMRTA) seeking a reduction in the auto fares in the city.
Most autos in Navi Mumbai run on petrol, which is more expensive than CNG, which powers autos in Mumbai.
Sanjay Raut, deputy regional transport officer at Vashi RTO said, "The Navi Mumbai auto fare was calculated by MMRTA on the basis of existing petrol rates. A recent study, however, showed that around 85 per cent autos in Navi Mumbai have installed CNG kits. Therefore, we have decided to impose CNG auto fare in Navi Mumbai and sent a letter to MMRTA to get permission for the same."
The deputy RTO in Vashi has asked all auto drivers to fix CNG kits in their autos before October 31 as the MMRTA is likely to implement CNG auto fare in Navi Mumbai from November 1. "A few days ago, we held a meeting with the auto unions in the city urging them to install CNG kits. If they don't, it will hurt their income post November 1," Raut said.
Surprisingly, auto unions have welcomed the RTO decision as most autos in Navi Mumbai have already installed CNG kits. However, auto drivers expressed concern over the limited number of CNG stations in the city.
Madhukar Patil, secretary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Auto Union said, "We welcome the move but at times, despite having installed CNG kits, we have to fill petrol because there are hardly six CNG stations in Navi Mumbai."
"We have raised the issue with the RTO in a meeting that was held few days ago," he added.
Responding to the concern of the unions, Raut said that the RTO office is holding talks with Mahanagar Gas Ltd. to set up few more CNG stations in the city. Commuters in Navi Mumbai, who have been demanding the implementation of CNG auto fares for years, have welcomed the move. "It is good to hear that the RTO has taken steps to reduce the auto fare," Alok Koltekar, an IT professional from Belapur said.