“Nai jaana.” This is a common term we Mumbaikars have been hearing from the kaali-peelis and rickshaws. It forces us to utter expletives or curse the auto wallahs. Turn to complain to the police and they are nowhere in sight. However, it seems that our troubles have received some amount of Zandu balm on them. Yes, the headline does convey what we wanted to say. In a crackdown on errant autorickshaw drivers, the Mumbai traffic police has fined more than 900 of them for various reasons. A majority of this includes drivers who refused a fare. Others include the ones who have overcharged their customers or refused to go by the meter. Many were also charged for overloading their vehicles.
The rickshaw drivers weren’t just fined. Their licenses have been cancelled as well. This means they cannot drive another rickshaw or worse, any other transport vehicle. These people along with their unions have collectively appealed to the court but their appeals were rejected. The unions think that these guys deserve a second chance as directly more than 2,000 people (dependants included) will now go without food on the table.
14 special squads were made to crackdown on the autorickshaw driver menace. It was found that majority of autorickshaw driver didn’t wear a uniform, drove without a license and often resorted to goon tactics. The major areas that were affected include BKC, Kurla station, Thane as well as Dombivli. In the latter, rickshawallahs will want to ply four passengers in a three-seater vehicle. They refuse to budge unless the fourth passenger sits in the front. Unfortunately, this happens in front of traffic cops as it is said that the local MLA has advised them to not interfere. Not only this, in areas like Powai, vacant rickshaws won’t even stop when flagged down. This causes issues wherein office-goers or even people who want to reach a certain destination have to wait longer. These users then end up paying double fare or take radio-based cabs.
All in all, this is a laudable action and should serve as a deterrent to other autorickshaw drivers.