Autorickshaw drivers find KCR's fitness fee waiver promise insulting'
Hyderabad: Autorickshaw drivers were unhappy with Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao’s promise to bring in a GO to scrap fitness fees of Rs 700 for three-wheelers, with many terming it an election gimmick and claiming to be insulted by Rao’s announcement.
They said their demand for a monetary benefit of Rs 12,000 per year has been long-pending.
Citing the YSR Vahana Mithra scheme in Andhra Pradesh, under which autorickshaw drivers get Rs 10,000 per annum for expenses towards insurance, repairs, fitness and other requirements, autorickshaw drivers said the government must promise Rs 12,000 per annum as Telangana was a progressive state.
Mohammed Jilani of the Telangana Auto Drivers’ Union, said: “The fitness fee is Rs 700 for two years for vehicles less than eight years old, while it is annual for vehicles older than eight years. This comes to Rs 1 per day and Rs 2 per day. Is this what a Chief Minister promises if he comes to power? Nowadays, people are giving more than five rupees to a beggar.”
There are around five lakh autorickshaws in the state, with 1.1 lakh plying in Hyderabad.
Jilani said, “We have taken part in the separate statehood struggle, but our lives are same, in poverty. We need houses and we need the policies that uplifts our lives. Most autorickshaw drivers are gullible and get carried away by the promises of the leaders. But at the end of the elections, our lives will be same.”
Mesaram Bhaskar, a physically challenged driver from Mylargadda, said: “For a decade, the minimum fare has been at Rs 20. Could not the government have, in these 10 years, not increased the fare? The government increased RTC bus fare on several occasions for its benefit.”
He said, “If KCR wants do something good for the autorickshaw driver fraternity, we need ESI medical eligibility, houses and a minimum guaranteed earning.”