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Glare on errant autos, cabs

Transport minister Madan Mitra on Friday threatened to intensify the crackdown on autorickshaws and taxis following complaints that a large number of them are refusing passengers without any valid reason and have illegally hiked fares.

“A section of auto drivers is behaving arbitrarily. We have been receiving complaints from passengers who have been bearing with us very patiently. Crackdown is on but police have been asked to intensify the vigil. The government is keeping a close watch on the situation,” Mitra said.

Complaints on auto-cracy, according to Mitra, are pouring in from parts of Salt Lake, Ultadanga, Kankurgachhi, Sodepur and Madhyamgram. In the south, similar complaints have come from the Garia-Gariahat, Taratala-Behala Chowrasta and some other stretches.

“We have asked the police to carry out massive raids on errant autos. Even taxis are refusing passengers. People are calling us up and narrating their ordeal (suffered at the hands of taxi and auto drivers). All this at a time the state is going a through a crisis following the recent hike in fuel prices,” the minister said.

The threat to errant autos and taxis follows a meeting between cab operators and the transport minister on the issue of fare hike. The operators have agreed to wait till October 8, by which time the government has promised to announce its stand on the demand for a fare hike, before deciding its course of action.

The cabbies have demanded that the minimum fare be revised from Rs 22 to Rs 32.

Mitra also issued a threat to pool car operators across the city. “Let me tell you all, 98 per cent of the pool car operators don’t have a permit. This can’t continue.”