Kochi: The Kochi Police has been flooded with overcharging complaints against auto-rickshaw drivers for long. Now the cops are out to address its “root cause”.
“There is a lobby that promises people fixed returns and take bulk permits using their addresses. They then rent out the vehicle to outsiders coming to the city looking for a job on a weekly rental basis, which is as high as Rs 2,000. This puts the auto drivers under pressure to earn more,” deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Harisankar said.
“We launched a drive and in two days, we seized 82 permits from two persons. The action will go on and sub-inspectors of respective stations are asked to probe such cases. We hope to seize more in the coming days.”
While 43 permits were recovered from Piravam native Ajith Cherian, 29, another 39 were seized from Vennala native Baputty, 45. In the first case, the person was charging Rs 1,750 per week while and the latter Rs 1,900.
“We’ve sent a report to the regional transport officer for cancelling all these permits taken illegally,” the officer said.
The “rental sharing business” has another fallout as majority of the drivers who use the vehicles on weekly rental hail from outside the district and often are rude to passengers.
Autorickshaw drivers in the city demanded distribution of ID cards to weed out “outsiders”.
“In most cases, the outsiders are behind the cases of attacks or rude behaviour with passengers. Since their database is unknown, they escape and the cops target genuine drivers. Hence those with proper address proof should be given ID cards,” said Sojan Antony, vice-president of the Ernakulam District Autorickshaw Drivers Association, affiliated to the CITU.