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Auto fare fight may take legal course

The passenger association of Dhanbad is mulling to file a petition in Jharkhand High Court to demand a rollback of the recent 20 per cent hike in auto-rickshaw fares.

The decision comes in wake of the dilly-dallying attitude of Dhanbad district administration to take a concrete decision over the matter.

“We want an immediate rollback of the hike as the minimum fare has become Rs 5. One has to pay this amount even for travelling a single kilometre,” president of Dhanbad Zilla Yatri Upbhokta Sangh Shiv Ranjan Singh said.

The passenger association also has a host of other demands like fixing of routes, uniform for drivers and installation of global positioning system in each vehicle for passenger safety among others.

A proposal in this regard was given to Dhanbad SDO Abhishek Srivastava during a meeting held at his office on March 11 where all stakeholders, including representatives of auto-rickshaw and passenger unions, were present.

The SDO forwarded the proceedings of the meeting to Dhanbad deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar.

“We will first give a reminder to the deputy commissioner. If no decision is taken by him, we will move the high court,” Singh added.

Notably, coal town auto fares had gone up by 20 per cent from January 10, following a decision taken by the district transport committee, which is headed by none other than Srivastava himself.

Following the decision, the maximum fare on any route rose to Rs 58, while the minimum fare became Rs 5.

At present, a 45km-travel from Dhanbad to Chirkunda costs Rs 58 against the previous fare of Rs 48.

Similarly, Dhanbad to Sindri costs Rs 29 against the earlier Rs 24, and to Tundi Rs 36 which was previously Rs 30.

Commuters have been totally against the steep fare hike, citing a budget pinch coupled with poor passenger amenities.