Saheli Dey, Kolkata: The difficulties the commuters face daily, courtesy the auto drivers in the Ultadanga-Salt Lake route, reached a notch higher on Tuesday. Despite massive
protests in the morning, the auto drivers were back to their old form in the afternoon.
Either you have to reserve the auto or you will have to pay a minimum of Rs 100 for
a Rs 14 ride. Reason for the hike? Bizzare was the reply of one of the drivers.
“You do not know a protest broke out in the morning? The roads were blocked. Hence
the fare has been hiked.”
Another auto driver, with utmost confidence, said, “If you can reserve the auto,
then I will take you anywhere.”
How can be a protest be the reason for a fare hike? Especially when the protests
were against these drivers only. The police and the administration seems to be mute
spectators to the ongoing menace. The passengers were seen running from one end to
the other looking for any kind of transport, the traffic guards were seen just
managing traffic and not paying heed to the chaos being faced by hundreds of
pedestrians on road.
Extreme heat on one hand, auto-drivers’ autocracy on the other, the passengers
found no option but to opt for buses. But the buses were packed already, with
people almost hanging at the doors. As a result, enraged people were standing
helplesly waiting for any kind of respite.
In the earlier part of the day, the furious passengers resorted to massive protests
and blocked the road near the Bidhannagar police station. The passengers complained
of unnecessary fare hikes by the auto drivers, especially during the office hours.
It lasted for about an hour which eventually disrupted the entire traffic in the
Despite recent measures by the transport minister Subhendu Adhikari, the auto
drivers seem to listen to none. The government also started several buses in the
Salt lake route recently to reduce this auto menace, but in vain. The
administration runs on its own, while the drivers ply on their own. When will the
administration wake up, question arises.