Kochi: Transport Commissioner Tomin J. Thachankary has recommended to the state government not to issue new permits for diesel autorickshaws in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode cities considering the high level of pollution and other environment impacts caused by diesel vehicles.
He has also proposed the abolition of diesel autos in a phased manner and converting them into LPG and CNG. The motor vehicles department has also recommended issuing permits for more autos in these three cities. "In Kochi, auto city permits have not been renewed in the last 21 years. But the number of autos illegally operating in the city has been increasing and these vehicle drivers often cause difficulties to the commuters and even create law and order issues. In many cases, the drivers of such illegal autos are members of criminal gangs or even drug peddlers," said Mr Tomin Thachankary.
The department is planning to increase the number of city permit autos and to give them separate colour and number so that unauthorised autos are easily identified. "The system introduced in Thiruvananthapuram on a trial basis had proved to be a success following which we have decided to expand it to other cities," the commissioner added.
At present, Kochi city has only 4500 autos with city permits while the actual demand is much higher. Earlier, when Mr Tony Chammany was the Mayor, the corporation council had requested the Regional Transport Authority to issue more city permits and to streamline the three-wheelers operating within city limits.
Auto drivers in the city have been demanding strict action against vehicles from outside areas entering and operating in city areas. "The MVD has introduced the different colouring and numbering system in Thiruvananthapuram following widespread complaints against unauthorised autos. After the new system was introduced, complaints against unruly behaviour of auto drivers have come down and the city drivers' income has increased," said Mr Thachankary.
In Kochi, though the transport authorities had issued only 4500 city permits till 2004, more than 15, 000 autos have been operating within the city limits.
The lawlessness of auto drivers and parking of vehicles in unauthorised stands along narrow roads are major problems faced by the city dwellers....