'I was on my way to the temple'

Oct 18, 2011, 08:47 IST | Team Mid Day

45 auto drivers were fined for rejecting passengers; while some displayed sheer arrogance, others came up with innovative excuses

45 auto drivers were fined for rejecting passengers; while some displayed sheer arrogance, others came up with innovative excuses

Place: Nehru Nagar, Kurla
Time: 11 am-1 pm
Offenders caught: 6
Commuters speak:

Pradeep Bandre, Assistant Engineer (MSEB), said, "Most of the rickshaw drivers say that they want to ply on the western side of Bandra, where the scope for getting fares is more."

Mumtaz Ali, who wanted to go to Kanjurmarg, said, "The autorickshaw drivers are very arrogant and rude. They don't mind telling, meri rickshaw hai, aur mere hisab se chalegi ( I am the owner of this rickshaw, and will ply wherever I want to)."  

I'm scared: A driver said that he was beaten up by his counterparts for
plying a passenger from their area

Auto Drivers Speak:
B Pandey: "Ever since I was beaten by drivers at Bandra station for plying a passenger from their area, I have stopped taking fares to that area."

Shekar Devlekar:  "The passenger asked me to ferry him to Kanjurmarg, but I refused as there was no fuel."   

Text: Faisal Tandel, Pic: Atul Kamble

Place: Outside Andheri station
Time: 9 am - 11 am
Offenders caught: 9
Commuters speak:
Magan Purohit said, "Rickshaw drivers just refuse to ply to shorter distances like JB Nagar and MIDC. They do not even sympathise with senior citizens."

My way, long way: Auto drivers outside Andheri station (East) only
wanted to ferry long distance fares and paid the price for it

Spot of bother:
Initially, rickshaw driver Altaf Mohammed refused to ply four passengers to relatively nearby destinations. However, after Head Constable Tanaji Kadam approached him, he immediately halted his rickshaw and started offering the excuse that his vehicle had broken down, and even asked a couple of passerbys to help him park it to the side of the road. Sensing something amiss, constable Kadam decided to drive the rickshaw and found that the vehicle was in working condition. When Kadam questioned Mohammed about the false act he had put up to avoid being fined, the latter maintained that he did not refuse to ply any of the passengers.

However, the four passengers whom he had refused to ply earlier, approached Kadam and lodged complaints against the driver. His license was confiscated following the complaints. 

Text: Nivedita Dargalkar, Pic: Shadab Khan

Place: Kalanagar Bridge, near MHADA Office, Bandra (east)
Time: 9 am - 11 am
Offenders caught:13
Commuters Speak:
Parmita Sheth, said "Drivers come up with silly excuses all the time. How can they refuse to ply if they are out  on the streets to earn? Travelling in rickshaws has become hopeless."

For god's sake: Drivers here came up with innovative excuses from
being sick, to showing an agarbatti to prove their innocence

Auto  Drivers Speak:
Winson Nadad: "With my meter half down, I was going home to take my medicines.I didn't even entertain a single passenger. To me, my health is more important."

Nandkishore Chaturbhuj: "To start my day, I was going to the temple to seek blessings from god and hence forgot to put the meter half down. I can show you the agarbatti as well. Henceforth, I'll make sure that my meter is half down."

Text: Dazy Verma, Pic:Datta Kumbhar

Place: Ghatkopar (W)
Time: 9:30 am-11:30 am
Offenders caught: 17
Commuters speak:
Ganesh Kulkarni said, "Several rickshaw drivers pick up people even when their meters are half meter. This is totally wrong. At Ghatkopar, rickshaw drivers want to go to far off places like Andheri, Malad, Borivli, rather than nearby destinations within Ghatkopar, this is unethical."

Laila Gandhi said, "Rickshaw drivers fight with us when we say that we will complain about heir arrogance. But since the time a traffic constable has been posted outside Ghatkopar station, they have fallen in line."

Auto drivers speak:
Gandeep Shanth: "I am not from this area. I didn't know that here people cannot catch rickshaws from the left side. Now I stand to lose my day's wage paying the fine."

Abdul Karim: "I did not refuse anyone, but took those who jumped the queue and wanted to go to Malad, as I would get a good amount of money."

Spot of bother:
At least three rickshaw drivers were caught for refusals and when they were asked for their licences, they were unable to produce one. Ashok Hake, one of the drivers, who was caught, said, "I will go where I want and if I drive without a licence it is my problem. I am not a public servant. People should travel by buses or trains and not rickshaws if they feel we are refusing."

Deepak Chauhan, another driver who refused to ply and was without a licence, said, "I have given my licence for renewal. I refused, because they wanted to go to Kanjurmarg and I wanted to go to Andheri."

Inspector Kegle said, "There is no proof that Deepak has given his licence for renewal. Hence, he will be booked for refusal as well as driving without one. Many rickshaw drivers who refuse are actually the ones driving without licences, so we make them leave their rickshaws and the keys here, and ask them to go home and get their licences."

Sudharshan Mishra, who was caught for the second time, argued, "I am ready to pay the fine, I don't have the time to go and collect the licence. Diwali is coming and I need to earn money to be able to send some to my parents back home."

Text: Maleeva Rebello

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