Kozhikode: The autorickshaw drivers in the city are facing tough times due to various factors, including increasing prices of fuel and spare parts, hike in the insurance premiums and the fact that the old charges have not been revised.
The state government has not raised the minimum fare fixed in October 2014 though the fuel prices have gone up from below Rs.65 then to above Rs. 80 now.
Mr A.K. Sajeev Kumar, who has been driving autorickshaw in the city since 2008, said "the insurance premium then was about Rs. 2, 500, but now it is almost Rs.10,000. Every month, the drivers suffer losses, " he said.
There are approximately 4,337 autorickshaws in the city and there is not enough parking slots for them.
The drivers include both men and women and they do not have proper toilet facilities though they had complained to the authorities several times.
"Many drivers were forced to look for other jobs due to the increasing cost of maintaining the vehicles" said Mr Sajeev Kumar.
The traffic police often fine them for parking vehicles at no-parking zones due to lack of space and congestion at places like beach road.
Autos were also not permitted on the airport premises and violators were charged with a fine of Rs.3,000.
The restrictions were lifted following protests. The drivers say that unless the fares are increased, they will be forced to go on a strike....