Munchun Rai speak to representatives of auto associations at a meeting in Ranchi on Thursday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Capital’s fair folks can bank on auto walas for a safe Durga Puja this year.
Ranchi Zilla Durga Puja Samiti held a meeting with auto operators on Thursday, asking them to ensure a smooth ride for women out for pandal-hopping on Ranchi roads.
While the auto associations were told to depute some three-wheelers exclusively for the use of women, the drivers have been asked to wear uniforms besides ensuring that no incident of eve-teasing or any such crime takes place in their vehicles.
Also, if needed, the auto-rickshaws will have to cover extra distances to drop women passengers at their destinations, especially at night, at normal fares.
Representatives of Jharkhand Pradesh Diesel Auto-Chalak Mahasangh and Jharkhand Pradesh Petrol Auto-Chalak Mahasangh attended the meeting that took place at railway grounds near Ranchi station.
“We requested the auto-rickshaw organisations to designate some vehicles exclusively for women pandal hoppers during Puja. They have agreed to do so. Besides, it will be the auto drivers’ responsibility to ensure that no woman is harassed in their vehicles,” Ranchi Zilla Durga Puja Samiti president Munchun Rai told The Telegraph.
The numerous pandals across the city draw huge crowds from across the city from Saptami to Dashami. Autos, which serve as the main mode of public transport, are known to charge exorbitant fares to cash in on the festive rush. On many occasions, drivers also misbehave with passengers. This has prompted the Puja organisers to be cautious this year.
“If any woman has to go home alone at night, auto drivers cannot refuse to offer them a ride. Rather, they will take the passenger to her destination even if it is located outside the city. But the fare will be the same. We have urged the auto drivers to be kind and help women,” Rai said.
President of Jharkhand Pradesh Diesel Auto Chalak Mahasangh Dinesh Soni said he would soon hold a meeting with three-wheeler drivers and apprise them of Thursday’s decisions.
“We will ask our men not to charge more at night. Also, they will be told to be on guard and prevent incidents like eve-teasing, which are common during festive occasions, in the autos,” said Soni.