Auto rickshaw operators want hike in fare

The president of All Goa Auto Rickshaw Association, Mr Abdullah Salaskar, has agreed to install meters and charge as per the government rate, provided government revised the rates as per their demand.

Mr Salaskar, speaking to this daily, stated that in the last convened meeting with the government officials they had demanded Rs 30 fare for the first kilometer instead of Rs 15, and Rs 15 for the subsequent kilometers since prices of everything from petrol, oil and spares have gone up and it is difficult to carry out the business like in other towns and cities in the country.

He stated that Panaji, Margao, Vasco, Ponda and Mapusa are very small as compared to places like Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Mangalore, Belgaum where people patronise only rickshaws and they get customers everywhere they go, but in Goa we have to come to stand to get the passengers.

Besides in Goa, there are rent a motorcycle, rent a car, good mini bus service and tourists patronise easy mode of transport and most of them hire a 2-wheeler or 4-wheeler thus leaving the auto rickshaw operators high and dry.

On Sunday, nearly 32 auto rickshaw union leaders gathered in the city to decide on the future course of action if the government presses to charge as per the meter reading and starts collecting fine from the defaulters from November 1.

They have decided to agitate by sitting in front of the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar’s bungalow at Altinho. They said that they would not move from there until their demands are redressed.

They said that after every three months either oil or petrol price go up, adding in the past rickshaw oil was costing only Rs 20 but now it is costing Rs 250, while tyre was costing Rs 600, but now within a couple of months tyre is available for Rs 1200 besides insurance premium has gone to Rs 1200 from Rs 1000, road tax is around Rs 5000, and even fee for passing test has gone up to Rs 100.

To get some spares they have to go to Sawantwadi or Kudal or Belgaum or Pune, they said, adding above all there are no good technicians available to repair meters.

In Maharashtra there is no door policy and the auto rickshaw operators can accommodate any number of passengers, they said adding, "we are ready to implement meter system provided the government give us demanded subsidy and new rate.’’ [NT]