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FB leads auto meter movement

- Site users to hit streets on February 27

Feb. 19: Residents will hit the streets on February 27 to put pressure on autorickshaw drivers to install electronic fare meters and abide by the rates fixed by the administration.

A group of people have already started a Facebook campaign titled “Honk your Voice”, inviting people on the social networking site to raise their concern.

“We will meet on February 27 at 3pm and launch a peaceful movement. We appeal to residents from all walks of life to join the movement because it is the general public who are suffering the most,” young activist Megha Kashyap, who started the online campaign, said today.

“To begin with, we will submit a memorandum to autorickshaw unions requesting them to install fare meters immediately to bring in transparency in their business. We will follow peaceful means of protest and urge people at railway stations, bus stands and market places not to use autos plying without fare meters,” she said.

The Telegraph had highlighted yesterday how residents were suffering because of non-installation of fare meters in autos despite repeated instructions from the transport department and the district administration.

The regional transport authority in November last year fixed the rates at Rs 20 for the first 1km and Rs 1.90 for the next 200 metres. It also said commuters have to pay 50 per cent more than the regular fare between 9pm and 6am. But auto unions are demanding a starting fare of Rs 25 per kilometre.

The transport department on Saturday launched a drive and seized some autorickshaws violating the order by not installing fare meters but the drive had to be called off as union members blocked the road and protested.

“As the administration has not been able to force auto drivers to install meters, it is now up to the public to step in and raise its voice. During the campaign, we will try to stage silent protests, put up banners near railway stations and bus stands and urge people who are visiting from outside to refuse to pay fare without meters,” said another member of the Facebook group.

Members of the group are also planning to take help of senior citizens and city-based NGOs to launch a vigorous public movement.

“We will seek held of the senior citizens’ associations as they also suffer because of the arbitrary fare demands of auto drivers. We should help the administration and force the auto unions to comply with the fares fixed by the transport department. We are using Facebook for the campaign since most people nowadays have profiles on the social networking site,” Kashyap said.