Mangaluru, January 27: Auto rickshaw owners and drivers in the district staged stir in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office on Tuesday, January 27th; under the banner of CITU demanding the withdrawal fare revision notification, issued by DC on January 9th.
In the order, A.B Ibrahim, deputy commissioner had directed to reduce minimum auto rickshaw fare from Rs 25 to Rs 20 and Rs 13 for additional kilometers. However, Auto rickshaw owners and drivers had requested to fix minimum fare at Rs 23 as against Rs 20 while retaining per km fare at Rs. 13. But, the DC gave another option to operators – minimum fare at Rs 22, which was rejected by the operators.
Though the new prices were supposed to come into effect from January 12th, the auto drivers have refused to follow the order and have been charging Rs 25 as before. A meeting convened by the DC to discuss the issue also yielded no positive result.
Strike was called by the auto rickshaw drivers’ association from midnight of January 27th to midnight of Wednesday January 28th.
Balakrishna Shetty, district president of CITU addressing the protestors said, “Dakshina Kannada deputy commissioner has reduced the auto rickshaw fare from Rs 25 to Rs 20. It is not fair”. Auto drivers serve the people for more than 14 hours a day and the public should realize and acknowledge the hard work put in by the auto drivers.
He further said, though the rickshaw drivers help people in their hard times and save lives, there is no protection for auto driver’s life.
Even though the prices of petroleum products have gone down, the prices of daily commodities have not reduced. Cost of auto rickshaw spare parts are high. He urged that the deputy commissioner should review the reduced auto rickshaw fare.
L T Suvarna speaking on this occasion warned of intensifying the protest in future if the demands of auto drivers are not met.
Sunil Kumar Bajjal, Krishnappa Gowda were present among others during the protest.