UT Traffic Police Saturday decided to initiate a strict challan drive from October 26 against auto-rickshaws plying without meters after launching a two-week-long awareness drive for the auto drivers in Chandigarh. The challans will be issued under Section 177 of New Motor Vehicles (Amended ) Act, 2019. The offense contains a fine of Rs 500, which can be extended to Rs 1,000.
The move comes after the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on October 5, gave a three-week time for Chandigarh traffic police to spread awareness regarding the same. At present, auto-rickshaws in the city are being operated without meters charging exorbitant rates from the passengers.
SP Manoj Kumar Meena, officiating SSP (traffic), said, “We are bound to start the challan drive from October 26. Till October 26, we will make auto operators aware of this provision through lectures, advertisements etc. From October 26, the autos will be challaned even if someone calls within Chandigarh informing that a particular auto is running without a meter. The high court had instructed SSP (traffic) to ensure that no auto will ply in the city without meter within three weeks on October 5.”
According to the UT administration, the notification issued in 2013 says that auto drivers can charge Rs 14 for the first kilometer and Rs 7 each for subsequent kilometers. Between 11pm and 5am, the passengers would be charged 25 per cent more than that of the daytime.
The waiting charges are fixed as Rs 10 per hour on part thereof. Secretary, State Transport Authority (STA), Harjeet Singh Sandhu said, “We are making the record of authorized and unauthorized autos plying in Chandigarh. Around 4,500 authorized autos are running in Chandigarh. We will assist Chandigarh traffic police in the challan drive.”
Anil Thakur, President of Hind Auto-rickshaws Worker Union, Tricity, said, “Earlier also, authorities enforced installation of meters in the autos but public had rejected the idea to pay according to the meters. The distance between Housing Board light point and PGIMER is 8 km. An auto driver charges Rs 20 from one passenger on this route. As per the meter, the charges will be Rs 63. At present, the minimum charges is Rs 10 in Chandigarh. Charges according to the meter will be costly for the public.”