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'Why are we being made scapegoats?'

On day 34 of MiD DAY's Meter Down campaign drivers cite 'nature's call' to 'scorching heat' to 'technical snags' in order to justify their refusal to ply short distances

Place: Borivli Station (East and West)
Time: 9.30 am-11.30 am and 6 pm-7.30 pm
Offenders caught: 10
Commuters Speak
Priyanka Mane said, "Rickshaws are supposed to be a public mode of transport. However, these errant drivers think that their vehicles are private and it's their birthright to refuse a fare."

Janvi Sisodia said, "Since I stay nearby, it takes nearly 45 minutes to find a rickshaw that is ready to ply me to my residence from the station. Hence, I either walk it or end up boarding over-crowded buses."


Check it, I'm not lying:  A driver invites a cop to see for himself the
technical snag that he had cited to deny a plying passenger. Pic/Rane Ashish


Auto Drivers Speak
After being caught for refusing to ply a passenger, Nanhelal Jaiswal said, "I was desperate for a toilet break, hence I refused to ferry the passenger. Nobody sympathises with us."

Ishwarchandra Pal: "The scorching heat has taken its toll on the tyres and has hampered their smooth functioning."

Spot of Bother
It was observed that Mohamed Ansari was negotiating with four different passengers, who had just alighted a long-distance train. However, after realising that all four of them were short distance fares, he snubbed them all.

After observing his arrogance, traffic constable Parag Mohite caught Ansari and confiscated his licence for refusing to ply. However, Ansari created a big scene and said, "My CNG pipe is broken and hence I refused to ply the passengers."

Sceptical of Ansari's reason, Mohite checked the pipe and discovered that it was functioning properly.
On being caught for refusing to ply a lady passenger, Raghvendra Pathak's licence was confiscated by the traffic police. Enraged by the action initiated against him, Pathak started abusing her. After witnessing his unruly behaviour, the cops reprimanded Pathak and booked him for both refusal and speaking rudely with the passenger.

Text: Nivedita Dargalkar

Place: Govandi (E)
Time: 9.30 am-11.30 am
Offenders caught: 3
Commuters Speak
Supriya Mane said, "My office is located at Santacruz and getting a rickshaw from Govandi to my office is a daunting task. Every day, I get snubbed by at least five drivers, before I find an auto that is ready to ferry me. And that too only till Sion. There onwards, I am forced to catch another rickshaw."

Pratibha Ubala, who wanted to go to Acharya College in Chembur, said, "Despite the on-duty traffic officials monitoring the area, drivers continue to refuse fares. When the driver saw me approaching the cops, he tried to flee. But  the cops managed to nab him."


Penalised: Traffic constables fine errant auto drivers. Pic/Sameer Markande

Auto Drivers Speak
Sukhdev Salgar: "Every day, I take fares from Govandi to nearby areas and earn enough to feed my family. Taking a fare to Santacruz is not a big issue, but I don't want to waste my time in a traffic jam for a single fare."

Abasaheb Waghmare: "I agree that I refused the lady passenger, but I was only taking a turn. However, the cops thought that I was running away."

Text: Faisal G Tandel

Place: Sion Junction
Time: 9.30 am-11.30 am
Offenders caught: 4
Commuters Speak
Sindhutai Borke said, "I wanted to go to Dharavi. But these rude drivers don't even respect senior citizens like me. All they care about is money."

Umesh Sonawne said, "I wanted to go to T-junction at Dharavi, but the rickshaw driver refused. These arrogant drivers must be punished for their behaviour."


There's no escape: A traffic cop penalises an auto driver, who tried to
flee after refusing to ferry a passenger. PIC/Atul Kamble


Auto Drivers Speak
Umesh Ingale: "I refused the passenger because I wanted to answer nature's call. Why are we being made scapegoats? Aren't we human beings?"

Mohammad Salim: "I had my private fare coming that's why I refused the passenger. Also, I generally don't ply on this route."

Text: Mukul Pawar

Place: Santacruz Station (W)
Time: 10 am-12 pm and 5 pm-7 pm
Offenders caught: 7
Commuters Speak
Mitali Pal said, "Despite knowing that during morning peak hours people are in a hurry to reach their respective offices, these arrogant drives refuse to ply us."

Ankur Kashyap, who was refused twice, said, "I'm getting late for college and despite roaming empty, these drivers are refusing to ferry me."

Sandeep More said, "I was in a hurry and even pleaded with the driver to ferry me, but to no avail."


What's your count? Traffic constables are engrossed in updating their
official diary. Pic/pradeep dhivar


Auto Drivers Speak
Ahmed Razzak: "I had to pick up my son from school and since the destination the passenger wanted to go to wasn't en route, I refused."

Surendra Kumar Prajapati: "I have been driving since 6 am and since I was dead tired, I refused the passengers."

Dhaniram Morya: "Because of these stupid fines, even the autos that are on the road will stop operating soon. It's my auto, and I should decide whether I want to ply or not."

Text: Samiya Dinware

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