Wednesday, February 1

Auto policy to come into effect from tomorrow

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The autorickshaw policy, the draft of which was released on June 13 by transport minister Suvendu Adhikari, will come into effect from August 16. A formal notification in this regard will also be issued on Thursday. It will determine fare, rationalise routes and number of autos in routes and streamline route permit and registration process. It will also establish the control of transport administration on autos, which are now under the control of unions.

After becoming transport minister, Adhikari wanted autos to be disciplined and law-abiding. This is why he strongly proposed an auto policy to end commuters’ woes, including truncation of routes, unilateral fare hike, demand of exorbitant fare during odd hours and running autos without necessary papers. The safety and security of commuters have been given the highest priority in the policy, said a transport department official.

The policy also aims at regularising illegal autos. “These autos run without papers and tend to flout rules. Once regularised, they will be brought under regulation,” said an officer. In fact, a high-power committee also recommended the regularisation of illegal autos. The policy has chosen 475 routes as legal ones.

However, one area that has been kept out of the policy ambit is the determination of fare. “The character of auto is contract carriage in the Central Motor Vehicle Act (CMVA). But autos in Kolkata run as stage carriage (like bus). So, it is very difficult for the state government to announce the stage fare of autos. This is why auto fare will be determined by the route committee following the consent of the government,” said an official.

Auto policy will also realign some routes in the long run to reduce the overlapping of auto routes with that of the buses. All new routes will be designed keeping in mind the bus routes, last-mile connectivity and uncharted territories, said the official.

Source: Times of India

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