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'People with luggage should take taxis, not autos'

On day 11 of the MiD DAY's Meter Down campaign, as the number of offenders galore, bloated with arrogance, rickshaw drivers continued arguing with the traffic cops for penalising them

Place: Nahur Railway Bridge & Nirmal Lifestyle Mall
Time: 9.30am-11.30am and 5pm-7pm
Offenders Caught: 18
Commuter speaks:
Sadaram Ghandiria, who was refused for having luggage on him, said, "My luggage is not much. Rickshaw drivers readily ply four people at a time, which is illegal. But they don't agree to take people with baggage unless the commuter is ready to pay extra for it."

Lavanya Pai said, "Rickshaw drivers think they run a private car business. They always want to have the right of choosing the destination. If so, then they should stay at home."

Hiralal Darda said, "Penalising these rickshaw drivers is a very good thing. I have no personal enmity with them, but I'm fed up of waiting for long hours to get a rickshaw due to their refusals."


MIDDAY Auto Rikshaw campaign Rickshaw drivers fined for refuslas at
Mulund West


Auto driver speaks:
Mohan Chauhan: "My rickshaw is not a goods vehicle. Unlike taxis, rickshaws don't get any luggage money. Hence I refused a man with luggage, who wanted to go to Sonapur. People with luggage should take taxis, not rickshaws. I cannot be booked for refusal, it is the rule."

Deepak Gupta: "Several passengers approached me together and hence I chose to ply the one that suited me. So booking me for refusal is wrong."

Spot of bother: A number of rickshaw drivers claimed that to avoid being fined, most of them have now started plying to the destinations of travellers' choice. Ramanujan Shinde, a rickshaw driver said, "With Diwali season on, it is better to take shorter fares and earn less, rather than ending up paying fines and running to court. Many rickshaw drivers in the eastern suburbs have decided to follow this for a week."
Text: Maleeva Rebello
Pic: Datta Kumbhar

Place: Andheri Station
Time: 9.30am-11.30am and 5.30pm-7.30pm
Offenders Caught: 12
Commuter speaks:
Nitin Shah said, "Rickshaw drivers always refuse to ply short distances and give excuses. Interestingly, if they happen to get a long distance fare, they readily agree to ply the passenger. Such rickshaw drivers who show double standards, must be penalised and their permits should be revoked."

Revathi Nair said, "I want to go to Chakala. However, I've been waiting for the past 30 mins, as no rickshaw driver is ready to ply me."


Abdul Khan and off More, Sushma Netke at MID-DAY AUTO rickshaw
camping at Andheri


Auto drivers speak:
After being caught for refusing to ply, Manoj Mishra created a scene. "I did not see the passenger, so I cannot be penalised." However, the passenger whom he had refused testified against Mishra, revealing his arrogance. Following the commuter's statement, Mishra's license was confiscated. Arguing with the traffic cops, Mishra said, "Henceforth, I shall not come to Andheri station."
In his defence, Gulabchand Shukla, who too was caught for refusing to ply, said, "I desperately wanted to go to the toilet, and hence I refused the fare."

Abdul Khan: "Since I wanted to go for some personal work, I refused the passenger."

Text: Nivedita Dargalkar Pic: Nivedita Dargalkar

Place: Ghatkopar (E)
Time: 10am-12pm and 5pm-7pm
Offenders Caught: 8
Commuter speaks:
Ankit Thakkar, a collegian, said, "After the initiation of campaign, refusals have started declining. The rickshaw driver was outside the queue and agreed to ply me. But he was booked for his offence. Now I have to look for another auto."

Jalindar Tanpure, who was travelling with his family, said, "We approached the rickshaw driver asking him to ply us to Vikhroli station, but he refused. However, he readily agreed to ply a lady passenger, who wanted to go nearby."

Auto drivers speak:
Pralhad Soni: "I was not in the queue when the passenger approached me. But realising that the traffic cops were around I refused him. I was confused about the law."

Gopinath Kaur: "I was looking out for a small distance fare, hence I refused to go to Vikhroli. I was in hurry because I have to go with my children for Diwali shopping."

Text: Faisal G Tandel Pic: Sameer Abedi

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