To avoid prosecution for refusing to ferry passengers, autorickshaw drivers in the national capital will display “returning home” plates on their vehicles after completing work hours from September 17.
“Autorickshaw drivers will start displaying ‘returning home’ plates on their vehicles after completing working hours from September 17, the occasion of Vishwakarma Day,” Rajendra Soni, General Secretary of Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh, said.
As per the rules, Delhi Traffic Police prosecute the auto drivers who refuse to ferry commuters by issuing challans of Rs 2,000.
“We were fed up of being continuously prosecuted by Traffic Police for refusal even when an auto driver returns home after completing his duty.
“In this situation, we have decided to implement it (the decision) on our own,” Soni said.
There are 80,000 autos plying in the national capital and the Union claims to have a control over most of them.
“For instance, if an auto driver who lives in Janakpuri and wants to go home after completing his duty in Connaught Place, he has to place a plate of ‘Janakpuri’ on his vehicle so that passengers going towards this area and nearby can hire it,” Soni said.
Soni said on the occasion of Vishwakarma Day, Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh will distribute hundreds of such iron plates to auto drivers.
“Everybody has the right to work for eight hours, but why this rule is not enforced for auto drivers who leave their house early morning and return late night,” he questioned.
Reacting to the decision, Delhi Traffic Police said if auto drivers “really” go home after their duty, they do not have any objection to the ‘returning home’ plate.
“If auto drivers display such plate on their vehicles while really returning home from their work, Traffic Police will not have any objection to them,” Anil Shukla, Joint Commissioner (Traffic), said.
In February this year, former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, during an “autorickshaw mahasabha” at Burari, had also appealed to the auto drivers not to refuse passengers.
“With passengers’ traveling, you (auto drivers) earn money and your families survive. If an auto driver is going to his house after work at night, then I request him to place a plate of ‘No Service’ in front of his vehicle. Such autos do not deserve fine for refusal,” Kejriwal had said.