There was a strict instruction from the Regional Transport Office (RTO), Navi Mumbai, that all autorickshaws must install the electronic meter.
Almost all rickshaws followed this order and have now fitted the new meter. But, the RTO did not insist that they should charge according to the meter reading.
None of the autos in Panvel and New Panvel charge according to the meter reading.
They have their own rules. On the night of September15 at around 10pm, my family and I had to ply till a distance of about 2km from the New Panvel side of Panvel railway station.
He asked for Rs 50 for this little a distance. When I did not agree, he angrily asked me to look for some other rickshaw. At last I found a rickshaw which asked for Rs 30 which is the normal daytime charge.
Majority of the rickshaw drivers in Panvel are very high-headed. They have a good backing from two prominent political parties of the area.
One cannot see a police aid post near the auto stand. A fare table was installed at the auto stand by traffic police some time back, but within days it vanished.
Under this circumstance, whom should one complain to? In Khandeshwar, there is a system of shared autos. But in Panvel, one can find a six seater from near the bus stand. But, none of the autos are ready to ply on sharing basis either from the bus stand or from the railway station.
The latest announcement from the Panvel Municipal Council to start mini buses is a welcome move. I would request that it should ply from railway station and bus stand to all interior places like Nere, Vichumbe and other places.
Meanwhile, I would also request the RTO to strictly instruct the rickshaw drivers to charge according to the meter reading and display the contact number of traffic police and RTO, inside the rickshaws.
Also, I request the political parties who are backing these autos to look into the matter since elections are also approaching.
The parties should bear in mind that the common public which is using the rickshaws comprise majority of the voters and not the rickshaw drivers and their families.