Chennai: It looks like there will soon be an auto rickshaw revolution in the state. Close on the heels of Prahalathan Karunakaran’s change.org petition to raise auto fares in the state, auto drivers under the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) have banded together to urge the Tamil Nadu government to raise the outdated auto fares in accordance with the rising prices of fuel.
The last time the auto fares were revised was in 2007 when the price of petrol was Rs 45.62 per litre. The auto drivers said that they were ready to charge by the meter, but questioned whether the government was ready to revise the auto rates fairly. They also demanded that the government take into account the opinions of leaders of various auto associations in Chennai before revising the rates.
B Karunanidhi, president of CITU said, “Recent reports in the media suggest that several steps are being taken to revise the auto rates and we fully welcome it. But we also want our opinion to count as it concerns us. If the leaders of several associations, the people who use the autos and the government officials sit together and have a meeting, I am sure we will be able to come up with a decision that is fair for all.”
The last time the auto fares were revised was in 2007 when the price of petrol was Rs 45.62 per litre.
He added that auto drivers should not be pictured as criminals. “Auto rickshaws are Chennai’s identity. If the government wants to take a survey of the neighbouring states and then fix a fare, then it is free to do so. All we are asking is to be included in whatever process they have going on,” he said.
This echoes the demands made by Prahalathan’s petition which also called for a joint meeting between the auto drivers, the government and regular auto users along with the revision of auto fares and implementation of rate cards. “We have already met the Transport Commissioner and are currently in the process of negotiating a meeting with the Transport Minister. He has promised that he will take action,” said Prahalathan. The petition has crossed 10,000 signatures and is still counting.