'Return my licence or I will fast until death'

Published: 02 December, 2011 08:25 IST | Team MiD DAY |

On day 43 of MiD DAY's Meter Down Campaign, a rogue autorickshaw driver threw tantrums when his licence was confiscated for refusing to ply a passenger

On day 43 of MiD DAY's Meter Down Campaign, a rogue autorickshaw driver threw tantrums when his licence was confiscated for refusing to ply a passenger

Place: Borivli Station (E)
Time: 10 am-12 pm
Offenders caught: 4
Commuters speak
Asawari Purohit said, "Despite noticing that I'm physically challenged, none of these errant drivers agreed to ferry me to my destination. The drivers are now increasingly exploiting the half-down metre rule to refuse short distance fares. It's time for the RTO to clamp down on such practices."
Rachael Fernandes said, "Every morning I waste almost 30 minutes to find an auto that is ready to ply me. With buses carrying beyond their capacity, these drivers know that they are in demand and hence take undue advantage of the situation to fleece passengers."
Sarita Shenoy said, "These arrogant drivers don't think twice before refusing senior citizens. Making profit seems to be their sole objective."

Pulling a fast one: Joshi squatted on the road and threatened traffic
constable Mangale to fast until death, if he didn't return his licence

Auto drivers speak
On being caught for refusing a short distance fare, rickshaw driver Mahendra Gupta said, "I have to pick up my child and drop him to his school. Hence I refused the fare."
Ramjagir Mishra: "I didn't even see the passenger. Then how can I be booked for refusal?"

Spot of bother
Auto driver Chetan Joshi who was caught refusing a fare, tried convincing the traffic constable that he had never refused the lady. In fact, he had only asked her to come closer to the road so that he could pick her up. However, when the officer cross-checked Joshi's version with the lady passenger, his lie was busted.
Following her complaint Joshi's licence was confiscated.

Realising that he would now be doing rounds of the RTO to reclaim his licence, Joshi sat down right in the middle of the road and started throwing tantrums. "Give me my licence or else I will sit here and fast until death."

So-called support: Tanuj Sharma arguing with Mangale and the
reporter in Joshi's favour. Pics/Mahesh Chafe

Soon, Joshi was joined in by Tanuj Sharma, his so-called neighbour. Vouching for the driver, Sharma said, "I know Joshi from many years. He is not the kind who will refuse to ply a passenger. If necessary, I'll come to the court and give my statement in his favour."

However, when traffic constable Vasant Mangale told Sharma that he would be producing the lady passenger in the court whom Joshi had refused to ply, so that even her statement could be recorded, Sharma fled the spot.
After receiving a call from Mangale, Senior Inspector Pandurang Ingule of Borivli traffic police station reached the spot and asked Joshi to vacate the road, as he was causing unwanted traffic jams. However, Joshi tried threatening Ingule by stating, "I will now sit outside Borivli traffic police station and continue my fast." However, Joshi fled the spot the moment Ingule told him that he would be jailed for his act.

Text: Nivedita Dargalkar

Place: Sion Junction
Time: 10.45 am-12 pm
Offenders caught:  2
Commuters speak
Hemantbhai J Bharadwar said, "Since I travel to Dharavi Depot, which is close by, I face umpteen refusals on a daily basis."
Mandar Joshi said, "Drivers seldom agree to ply to Milan Subway. With tampered meters, I end up paying almost double when the actual fare is only about Rs 50."

Auto drivers speak
Bharat Tate: "There are so many auto drivers who refuse to ply short distance fares, then why are you targeting only me?"
N Khan: "The passenger thought that my meter was tampered and started arguing with me, hence I refused to ply him."

Text: Vishakha Sonawane

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