The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Salt Lake planners clamp down on auto routes

Following finance minister Asim Dasgupta’s recent promise of a clampdown, the Salt Lake municipality has taken a tough stand on illegal auto-rickshaws, despite stiff resistance from a section of the CPM.

The town planners have decided to step up action against 200-odd autos in Salt Lake. “We are working on a detailed plan to check illegal autos in the township and stop some routes which do not have permits,” Dilip Gupta, chairman of Bidhannagar municipality, told Metro on Monday.

“There are a number of autos plying without permits, which have to be either regularised or stopped, for which police help will be sought,” said Gupta, adding that the municipal officials would discuss the issue with the transport department.

A section of the party, the Citu leadership, which has a strong presence in auto unions, is likely to oppose the plan. CPM sources said Citu leaders had set up a board at an auto-stand near tank no. eight, which they had refused to pull down when told to do so by party office-bearers.

In a recent meeting, the municipality’s transport sub-committee drew up an elaborate plan to regularise auto routes. Three routes have been proposed and two others, which do not have permits, will be regularised.

The present routes, from the EM Bypass-Salt Lake bypass crossing to SDF Building in Sector V and the one from Karunamoyee to SDF Building, would be regularised, said Ashim Guha, CPM councillor and convenor of the transport sub-committee.

The proposed new routes include Ultadanga to Bikash Bhavan, Sports Authority of India Gate to Baisakhi and Phoolbagan to Baisakhi via Labony, FD Block and Karunamoyee. “The routes have been planned to cover the entire township. So, if the other unauthorised routes are stopped, residents will not be inconvenienced,” Guha said. “We will launch a joint operation with the police to stop other routes.”

He added that the municipality would ask the Regional Transport Authority for permission for the new routes. “When the permits are allotted, the requests of autos already plying in Salt Lake will be considered,” Guha said.

Officials said the civic authority receives numerous complaints from the police against autos running without licences. “There are many autos with only temporary carriage permits. This is a dangerous trend, which is growing in Salt Lake. If any accident occurs, the passengers or auto-owners will not benefit,” a municipality official pointed out.

The police have promised support. “There are occasional drives against illegal autos in the township. But if a decision is taken, we will launch a serious campaign and use our network to check papers of all autos,” said Ajay Nand, additional superintendent of police, Salt Lake.

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