Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday announced that the state government will appoint a fare-fixation committee and autorickshaw fares will be revised on April 1 every year.
Addressing nearly 1,000 autorickshaw drivers at the ‘Autorickshaw Samvad’ held at the Burari ground, Kejriwal said the government had taken a number of steps to ensure that they do not face harassment at the hands of the authorities.
He said the government will appoint a fare-fixation committee, which will come up with a formula that will be used every year to revise fares automatically. “The formula will be devised in consultation with you all. We will not bring in any formula that drivers do not approve of,” Kejriwal told the crowd.
Kejriwal said autorickshaw drivers had made 50 per cent contribution to the votes that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won during the Assembly elections held in February. “If it wasn’t for them, the AAP would not have won so many seats,” he said.
Announcing sops for autorickshaw drivers, Kejriwal said, “If you are returning home in the evening, you can put up a board on your vehicle indicating which way you are headed — Burari, Shahdara, Sarita Vihar… When you put up the board, you can accept a fare on that route or you can refuse fare. You will not face any action for that.” He, however, said that they cannot refuse fare at the autorickshaw stand.
He urged autorickshaw drivers to serve Delhi’s people with a smile and that fares will be increased without them asking asking for it. He warned that some officials had been appointed to attend to the helpline (011) 42400400 that will tackle complaints of overcharging and fare refusal. He said the officials will take immediate action on such complaints.
“Most people in Delhi are upset with autorickshaw drivers. When DTC employees went on strike, autorickshaw drivers took advantage of the people’s helplessness. I request you to work honestly. I will look after your children if you look after my people,” he told the drivers.
“GPS was a major problem. Four companies have been identified by the Transport department for installation of the meters at cheapest rates,” he said.
The chief minister said that the city will get 400 halt-and-go stands. “If you (autorickshaw drivers) stop on the road, policemen drive you away. There will be 400 halt-and-go stands in Delhi where you can stop. Of these, 100 are already in place. At a time five autorickshaws can stop at the halt-and-go stand.”
The Delhi government has already withdrawn the powers given to the traffic police under Rule 66/192 A of the Motor Vehicle Act. Under the rule, the traffic police had special powers to impound vehicles for minor traffic violations like drivers not wearing uniform, refusal to ply, not picking up a passenger at a stand, or not displaying traffic police or Transport department helpline numbers.
These powers, Kejriwal said, have now been given to the Transport department. “Earlier to renew licences, autorickshaw drivers had to show a certificate of having passed Class VIII. Many drivers do not have this certificate, so this condition has been done away with,” Kejriwal said.
Kejriwal said that “ease of doing business” was not just for wealthy businessman. “When the BJP and Congress governments talk about ease of doing business, they hold meetings with industrialists in five-star hotels and ask them what problems they need resolved. But the AAP government is the government of common people. We resolve the problems of autorickshaw drivers, rickshaw-pullers, small-time shop owners and businessmen,” he said.