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Early Times Newspaper Jammu, Leading Newspaper Jammu
 
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CM's auto-rickshaw drivers rob commoners fearlessly
11/20/2012 12:23:04 AM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Nov 19: If Chief Minister Omar Abdullah would ever get an opportunity to ride an auto rickshaw from railway station to his official residence or some other destination in Jammu city chances are that auto rickshaw driver would rob him of his fortune by charging more than Rs 300 to drop him at his residence.
Contrary to this if youngest chief minister would ride the same auto rickshaw and introduce himself as a first time tourist to the city of temples there is every possibility that the same auto rickshaw driver would charge more than Rs 300 for the same destination and try to take maximum advantage of the helpless visitor.
All this is happening in the city of temples because no auto rickshaw driver on ground is charging the fixed rate on different routes and has started dictating terms to the commuters overlooking dictates of the regional transport authorities.
Ironically, in a city which is frequented by thousands of visitors/tourists each day the auto rickshaw drivers do not want to make use of meters fitted in their auto rickshaws nor any transport authority has ever carried out a drive to slap penalties in the name of defaulters to set right the system. Recently a cosmetic exercise was carried out by the traffic police authorities but things remain the same on ground zero.
Ironically, the unholy nexus between the auto rickshaw drivers and transport authorities is flourishing right under the watchful eyes of transport authorities and other vested interests. If a survey is conducted across the city it would come to the notice of surveyors that most of the auto rickshaws were not sticking to the rate list and brazenly duping the commuters and charging exorbitantly without inviting any penalty.
In some cases if ever a police complaint is lodged or tourist police is informed by the more aware commuters instead of taking stern action against the defaulter auto rickshaw driver the tourist police men try their level best to convince the tourists not to take notice of these petty things on their holiday and enjoy their stay.
It is for this reason the auto rickshaw drivers have never been penalised and openly robbing the commuters. We can only hope next time Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is ready to step out of his official residence he makes up his mind to travel in an auto rickshaw for a first hand experience.
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