Mangaluru: The District Magistrate and the Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim along with the RTO Afzal Ahmed Khan and the SP Dr Sharanappa held discussions with the auto drivers/owners to reduce the minimum fare to Rs 20.
The auto drivers kept to their demands and said that they had more than Rs 200 as expenses per day for food and are unable to save any money after a hard day’s work.
In response DC Ibrahim said that in 2006 the petrol price was Rs 54.40, diesel Rs 37.07 and the minimum fare was Rs 11 with additional Rs 7 for every kilometer. In 2008, the petrol price was Rs 57.44, diesel Rs 38.70, LPG Rs 35.42 and the minimum fare was Rs 13 with Rs 9 for every km. In 2010, the petrol price was Rs 58.15, diesel Rs 41.65, LPG Rs 31.46 and the minimum fare was Rs 15 with Rs 11 for every km. In 2011, the petrol price was 73.74, diesel price was Rs 45.61, LPG Rs 41.48 and the minimum was Rs 17 with Rs 12 for every km. In 2012, the petrol price was Rs 73.09, diesel Rs 50.77, LPG Rs 47.12 and the minimum fare was Rs 20 with Rs 13 for every km. In 2014, the petrol price increased to Rs 78.32, diesel 58.12, LPG Rs 62.10 and the minimum fare was Rs 25 with Rs 14 for every km.
In 2015, the petrol price decreased to 66.13, diesel to Rs 54.25 and LPG to Rs 37.27, so the minimum fare was made Rs 20 and every additional km to Rs 13.
The auto drivers requested the DC to think about the welfare of their families while fixing the minimum fare.
The DC replied that the last time when there was a hike in petrol and diesel prices and when the Auto drivers association urged him to change the minimum fare, instead of making it Rs 23, it was fixed to Rs 25; thinking that the passenger may not have change and may face problems in getting the money back. At that time, the association did not insist on fixing the fare to Rs 23. “It is my mistake that I have showed more concern towards the auto drivers/owners. But now when the fuel rate has decreased 45%, the auto drivers are not ready to co-operate with us. We have revised the minimum fare in the interest of the public.”
DC also said that when there is a problem in the transport department, the government has given power to the RTA to solve it. “If the auto drivers association will agree to revise the minimum fare to Rs 20 and is willing to solve it, the RTA and the District Administration will welcome it. If the association has decided to go to the court, we will also wait for the court order.”
Finally, the DC came to a conclusion that the minimum auto fare will be Rs 20 for upto 1.5 km and additional Rs 13 for every additional kilometer. If anyone is found charging more than the minimum fare, the passengers can complain to the DC, the RTO or the Police.
While the public was sharing their grievances about the misbehavior of some of the auto drivers and pointing out their refusal to take passengers especially women and the aged over short distances, one of the auto drivers was upset over the question and created a disturbance. He was gently escorted out of the meeting hall by the police.
Two minutes silence was also observed during the meeting in memory of Mahatma Gandhiji.