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Auto owners move court on fare revision

Guwahati, Dec. 2: Autorickshaw owners here today moved Gauhati High Court, seeking a stay on revised fares notification.

They will also take their autorickshaws off the city roads for 12 hours from 5am tomorrow in protest against the fare revision.

Three autorickshaw associations, Guwahati Autorickshaw Owners’ Association, Pub Guwahati Autorickshaw Xantha and Paschim Guwahati Autorickshaw Society, have filed the petition in court, seeking a stay on the directive issued by the Regional Transport Authority, Kamrup, on October 22 notifying revised autorickshaw fares.

The petitioners have prayed for the stay on the ground that the government has unilaterally fixed the rates when a case related to revision of auto fares is sub judice in the high court. At present, around 9,000 autorickshaws ply on the city roads.

The autorickshaw owners argued that since an earlier petition on fare revision (number W.P. (C) 980/2013), filed by them in the high court in March, was pending, the revision by the transport department before disposal of this case was illegal.

The general secretary of Greater Guwahati Autorickshaw Co-ordination Committee, Pabitra Kumar Baishya, said in the earlier petition they had sought revision of fares, setting up of adequate number of repairing centres for fare meters and action against diesel autorickshaws, which are illegally plying in the city.

“The high court had appointed advocate P.N. Choudhury, as amicus curiae, to examine various aspects and give suggestions in the matter. Choudhury had even held a meeting with the autorickshaw associations in October. When the process initiated by the amicus curie was going on and the high court case was pending, the state government suddenly notified the new rates, which is unacceptable,” Baishya said.

The transport department has raised the base fare for autos from Rs 10 for the first 2km to Rs 30. For every subsequent kilometre, travellers will have to pay Rs 15.

Passengers will be charged Rs 3 for every five minutes if they keep autorickshaws waiting.

Those travelling in autos between 10pm and 5am will have to pay 50 per cent more than the official rates, the notification said.

The autorickshaw associations want the base fare to be Rs 50 and Rs 20 for every subsequent kilometre.

Baishya said there was only one shop in the city where fare meters could be repaired, which inconveniences autorickshaw owners and drivers. The number of shops should be increased to at least 30, he added.

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