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A breakaway faction of the Sharad Rao’s autorickshaw union led by Thampy Kurien has come out with a solution to meter tampering problem. General secretary of the Mumbai Rickshawmen’s Union Thampy Kurien said the meters will become completely tamper-proof if better quality seals were introduced for the meters in autorickshaws. To drive home his point, Kurien showed DNA a sample of the plastic seal with a unique serial number. “It is practically impossible to break these seals or fiddle with their serial numbers. The seals presently in use are useless. Anyone can fiddle with them without really making it obvious for the authorities,” said Kurien. “The seals in use are thin wires of an alloy of iron or copper. They can be easily twisted and reused. With plastic, there is no other way but to break it. The metal seals cost around Re1 or Rs2. But the plastic seals cost around Rs 7 per piece. We want the government to use these plastic seals and give a unique serial number to each seal. So, everytime the autorickshaw driver comes for vehicle passing, the serial number and his thumb impression can be recorded in a database, which could be useful for enforcement purposes,” added Kurien. A Regional Transport Officer said the idea seems interesting but its feasibility will have to be verified. “Previously, we used to have aluminum seals, which were much better. However, the drivers complained that they got rusted eas ily. The replacements—iron or copper alloys—are no good either. Electronic meters may reduce these things,” he said. State Transport Commissioner VN More said this issue will be discussed with the unions.
Autorickshaw meter tracker is here- 97 drivers caught overnight
Published: Tuesday, Sep 20, 2011, 9:30 IST By Akshay Deshmane | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
When the RTO officials cracked the whip on autorickshaw drivers in the western suburbs on Friday night, they were armed with a special machine. The device, specifically designed to identify mechanically-run and tampered autorickshaw meters, proved to be an effective tool for the RTO officials to bring 97 errant drivers to book. Deputy Regional Transport officer from the Andheri RTO, Bharat Kalaskar, who initially conceptualised the machine, said it is a basic machine equipped to check if a meter runs fast. “The driving gear or the driving wheel inside the mechanical meters has to have 67 teeth so that it covers the mandatory distances for the corresponding fare slabs. If it does not, we can catch the irregularity by simply rotating the machine’s wheel after attaching a wire of the meter which is connected to the autorickshaw engine,” said Kalaskar. Though the machine has not been sanctioned by any official agency, the officer said, its track record is “fairly impressive” and no errors of reading the mechanical meters have been reported. If any driver has complaints about the machine, he can go to a manufacturing company’s repair unit or technical laboratories to get the results verified, the official said. “That is precisely what we are doing right now. All the 97 errant drivers caught have been asked to go to technical labs and repair units to get their meters checked. Once they are done, we will give them the required clearance,” said Kalaskar. On Monday, more than 40 drivers whose autorickshaws tampered meters were confiscated, took possession of them and went to the manufacturer’s repair unit.
Autorickshaw union leader Thampy Kurien said that hundreds of autorickshaw drivers were lined up outside repair units. “There were rumours about a citywide crackdown against tampered meters. Many, who were unsure if their rickshaw meters were functioning properly, also approached the repair shops. Perhaps, they thought it best to get their meters verified, especially when some autorickshaw drivers were threatening them from plying the vehicles,” Kurien said citing another reason for few autorickshaws in the western suburbs.
Proposed auto rickshaw strike called off in Mumbai
Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/proposed-auto-rickshaw-strike-called-off-in-mumbai/1/158254.html
The Mumbai Auto Rickshaw Men's Union has called off its strike proposed on November 9. The union's president Sharad Rao announced the decision on Tuesday stating that they are hopeful about the negotiations with the state government regarding reducing the CNG prices. "Since the talks with the government are going on regarding decreasing the CNG rates we have decided to call off the rickshaw strike," Rao said. However, he warned that if the CNG rates are increased the rickshaws in Mumbai and Thane will not ply until the increased rates are rolled back. He assured that the union will make an emergency number public in case of any future strikes. Rao said that his union has written to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan asking him to appoint a committee of economists and experts to study the finances of Mahanagar Gas Company and other oil manufacturing companies to find out whether CNG at present rates is affordable. "We have not given any proposal regarding by what percentage the rates should go down," he clarified. Rao said that his men from the union will follow the foot steps of the government employees and observe Saujanya Saptah (Politeness Week) during January 1 to 7 every year to create rapport with the commuters. The union will give its members some lessons on good behaviour with the commuters during the Saujanya Saptah. Rao suggested that number of rickshaws should be increased to fill up the shortage. He demanded that new permits should be issued to add new rickshaws. "More than three lakh badge holders are available in Mumbai to drive the rickshaw. If new permits are issued, all complaints will stop." He dismissed the argument that there will be traffic chaos if new permits are issued. "Everyday more than 500 vehicles are launched in Mumbai. Doesn't all that create traffic and parking problems?" he asked. Taking a dig at his opponent he floated an idea to have a secret voting among the rickshaw drivers to decide which union has majority among them. "The union which has the majority
will be recognised for all discussions, representations on committees for five years. If this happens, then there will be no call for strike for next five years," Rao said.
His suggestion has come after Nitesh Rane, president of an NGO Swabhimaan, criticised that Rao had no place among the rickshaw drivers and he should be admitted in a mental hospital.
Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/proposed-auto-rickshaw-strike-called-off-in-mumbai/1/158254.html
It is very easy to remember. Total Charge payable = (Meter Reading x 7 ) + 3 For example: If meter reading is 8 then charge payable will be (8 x 7 ) + 3 = Rs 59. (Thesse are recently revised Auto reshow tariff rates on 1st May 2009)
Veteran union leader Sharad Rao was forced to call off the proposed autorickshaw strike on November 9 after chief minister Prithviraj Chavan took the steam out of the agitation. “Since talks with the government are going on, it has been decided to cancel the proposed autorickshaw bandh on November 9,” Rao said in an official statement released by the Mumbai Autorickshawmen’s Union. “In case of an increase in CNG prices, autorickshaws in Mumbai and Thane will not ply till the prices are brought down to the existing level,” the statement stated. State transport commissioner VN More said he has not received anything in writing about the strike plan. “We are open to negotiations with the union,” More said. A senior official from the transport department said, “It is highly irresponsible of him. It only shows that man has become insecure after being neglected from all quarters. The CM gave a strong reply to him and the transport department cut him to size.” Meanwhile, the Petrol Dealers’ Association has cancelled its plans to go on a city-wide strike. “We have called off the strike. The state-level co-ordination committee decided that our demands will be addressed within a month. We have asked them to give it to us in writing whenever they declare their decision regarding our demands,” said Ravi Shinde, president of the Petrol Dealers’ Association.
Auto union to push for bigger hike at Friday meet
Somit Sen, TNN | Oct 12, 2011, 02.58AM IST
MUMBAI: The leader of the largest autorickshaw menas union in the city will be meeting state transport commissioner V N More on Friday to demand a bigger fare hike for drivers. Sharad Rao, leader of the Mumbai Autorickshawmenas Union, said he wants auto fares decided as per the formula of the Patankar committee, which takes into account social factors like cost of living and not just transport factors like fuel price hikes, etc. Currently, a hike of 50 paise has been approved for every additional kilometre after the initial 1.6 km. Rao said, the existing calculation is as per the Hakim committee formula, which is unacceptable to us anymore. It does not consider the overall burden faced by auto drivers in Mumbai. Most drivers live a hand-to-mouth existence. They have to bear the increasing costs of spare parts, vehicle maintenance, oil and lubricants, taxes and insurance. They stand in CNG queues twice a day, thereby losing valuable business time, travel through traffic jams and work in polluted environments with no health insurance or pension. We therefore want the fare hike revised as per the Patankar committee formula. Rao's union has decided to go ahead with an agitation on November 9, despite chief minister Prithviraj Chavan accepting some demands made by the union, including for more share autos, a driversa welfare scheme, the 50-paise hike and a joint committee to address union grievances. Chavan, however, rejected Raoas demands for autos to ply in the island city and a public servant status for drivers. Rao added that there was large-scale resentment among drivers for the delay in issuing tariff cards with the new fares. Some union members have threatened to approach the consumer court, while others have threatened another flash strike if the tariff card is delayed longer. This is causing daily business losses of Rs 1 crore, union leaders said. A senior transport official said, It is impractical to demand a further hike using a new formula. If the minimum fare in Mumbai is increased by two to three rupees, it would only affect the auto trade. More than 60% of passengers travelling short distances would stop hiring autos. Many are already opting for buses. Rao will also ask the government to hold a secret ballot of auto drivers to ascertain the amount of drivers in smaller unions. He claimed his union is the biggest in Mumbai, but unions with considerably fewer drivers were given as much importance at the chief ministeras meeting on Sunday. asLet there be a secret poll and drivers will know who are their real leaders, he added.
MNS transport union leader Haji Arafat Shaikh said, asRao must have realized on Sunday that he does not call the shots in the auto trade. There are at least nine other unions active in Mumbai and some have consented to electronic meters, which Rao is opposed to.
Rival auto unions opt out of planned Nov 9 strike call
Somit Sen, TNN | Oct 24, 2011, 03.45AM IST MUMBAI: While autos in Mumbai could be off the roads in protest from November 9, a section of auto unions led by
Thampy Kurian have decided to oppose any strike in the city.
Kurian controls the second largest auto union, the Mumbai Rickshawmen's Union.
threatening to go on indefinite agitation from November 9. We will not let this happen. He cannot hold the city to ransom again,"
"There have been reports of Sharad Rao's union (the largest union) Kurian told TOI. He added that some of the smaller unions have supported him and these rival union members have now threatened to take a morcha to Sharad Rao's residence in case there is a strike on November 9. Rao has denied having called any strike in Mumbai. His son, Shashank Rao, also a union leader, clarified that there was no official call for a strike. "We had never called for a strike during our October 3 agitation, nor for the future protest on November 9. We have not made any appeal for a strike in Mumbai," he said. Sources in the auto trade, however, said that every time Rao went on a morcha-be it for BEST bus employees (more than a month ago) or auto drivers-buses and autos went off the roads, inconveniencing citizens across the city. On October 3, very few autos were available even though Rao claimed he had not asked drivers to stay off roads. "What is the guarantee that there will be no strike
Kurian asked, adding that he too was opposed to the recent 50 paise hike. "It is
again if Rao's union goes on a morcha on November 9,"
too less for drivers, but we will demand a further hike through peaceful negotiations and discussions with the state transport department. We don't believe in taking out morchas or going on strikes," he added.
Rao said his union was also open to having discussions with the state transport commissioner over the
"We will propose the implementation of Dr Patankar committee formula for fare hikes. It looks into various aspects like social factors, working conditions, cost of living index, maintenance costs of vehicles (autos), hefty taxes, and we can get a realistic hike which benefits all automen," he pointed out. Kurian said
fare hike and other issues. his union was fighting for the rights of workers for several decades and that he was not affected by comments made by rival union members. The union will meet on October 29 to decide how they will agitate from November 9 onwards.
Nitesh Rane's union had accused Sharad Rao of having vested interests and said that Rao had "political ambitions". Replying to allegations, Sharad Rao said Rane need not worry about his aims and
A few weeks back, objectives. "I am honestly fighting for auto drivers and don't have any vested motives nor any plan to fight any elections," he added.
Transport chief runs down idea of 2nd auto fare hike
Somit Sen, TNN | Oct 26, 2011, 05.56AM IST
State transport com missioner V N More on Tuesday shot down auto union leader Sharad Rao' proposal for another three wheeler tariff hike, as rival unions said they would oppose any move by Rao to hold the city to ransom next month. Rao, who maintains that the recent 50-paise increase in fares is insufficient, has threat ened to call an indefinite strike beginning November 9 unless the government revises three wheeler tariffs. "At present there is no ques tion of giving another hike, More told TOI on Tuesday. "If drivers or unions are opposed to the 50-paise hike, it is not our problem. If they don't want the hike, they don't have to take it. The increase, More ex plained, is based on a formula submitted by the Hakim com mittee, which took into ac count several factors, includ ing cost of living index, rising costs of third party insurance "There was no rise in CNG prices, yet we raised the fare, he pointed out, adding that the formula has been adopted for more than a decade. Rao's Mumbai Autorick shawmen's Union argues that the hike should be calculated not by the Hakim committee method but by a formula pro posed by the Dr Patankar com mittee in the '90s. Rao says he will discuss the issue with More this Saturday. In case his suggestion is rejected, auto drivers across Mumbai will strike work indefinitely be ginning November 9.
indefinitely Haji Arafat Shaikh of Maha rashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena said: "If any union goes on strike and threatens our drivers, we will reply in typi cal MNS style. We will not let any strike happen in Mumbai.
Barring Rao's , no union is in favour of striking work-on November 9 or Sources in Mantralaya said the government is not happy with the planned agitation next month. "We will examine it legally. If a union or drivers go on a strike, we may take action against them," said an official CM Prithviraj Chavan, ear lier this month, had rejected Rao's demand for an annual fare hike. More said, "The Hakim committee formula cannot be changed overnight Still, we will talk to Rao."
Rickshaw unions at loggerheads
Somit Sen, TNN | Oct 26, 2011, 06.54AM IST MUMBAI: Sharad Rao, the leader of the largest auto drivers' union in the city, is finding himself increasingly isolated. More rival unions have spurned his plan to begin an indefinite strike on November 9 if the state government does not accept his bundle of demands, including another revision in threewheeler tariffs.
The Mumbai Rickshawmen's Union, which claims 3,500 members, had on Sunday announced its opposition to Rao's strike plan. It even threatened to take a morcha to Rao's residence in protest. Now,
. K K Tiwari, president of the Swabhiman Taxi Rickshaw Union, said, "At present, we don't see any reason to go on strike and inconvenience citizens. We will oppose any such agitation on November 9."
more unions have come out in opposition to Rao
Anil Parab, the leader of Shiv Sena's auto union, said, "We will run our autos on November 9 and if there is any attack on our drivers, we will not keep quiet."
Rao has officially not called for a strike but has threatened to agitate indefinitely from November 9 if his demands are not fulfilled . Rao's son Shashank said, "Nothing is finalized. We will take a call only after meeting the transport commissioner. If the talks fail, we will definitely agitate and are not worried about any rival unions."
Meeting to discuss city's auto issues postponed
Antara Bhattacharya, TNN | Oct 30, 2011, 01.15AM IST MUMBAI: The meeting between Mumbai Autoricksha women's Union president Sharad Rao and the state transport commissioner V N More has been postponed to next week. The objective was to put forth demands such as implementing the Dr Patankar Committee formula on fare hikes, increasing the share auto services in suburbs and introducing prepaid autos outside certain railway stations. The meeting would also decide the fate of the agitation that Rao has scheduled for November 9. Rao was to meet senior officials from the transport department on October 14, but this was postponed to October 21. "The meeting did not happen due to Diwali and will be held next week," Rao told TOI. When contacted, More said, "Though these meetings were scheduled, they
were postponed and it was decided that a meeting would take place post-Diwali. In fact Sharad Rao will call me later in the day and we may decide on a date, but no meeting is scheduled as of now." The state transport commissioner is not against meeting Rao and talking about the issue, "Every union leader has a right to put forth his opinions, if Rao wants to address certain issues, I am willing to discuss the same", he added.
Politeness week for auto drivers in Jan
Antara Bhattacharya, TNN | Nov 2, 2011, 02.15AM IST
MUMBAI: Autorickshaw drivers' union leader Sharad Rao on Tuesday announced that they will observe a Saujanya Saptah ( politeness week). This will coincide with the Road Safety Week held by the state government. "We don't want to limit this to just banners and posters. We will train auto drivers on good behaviour," he said. This comes in the wake of recent cases where drivers have been rude and arrogant to commuters. He said that instead of the indefinite agitation from November 9, auto drivers will now stage a "dharna" from 11 am to 5 pm at Azad Maidan on December 10. "We are also opposed to political groups who are working against the interest of autorickshaw drivers,'' he stated. Rao's other demands include revision of fares based on the Dr Patankar committee formula, which considers factors such as consumer price index and other expenses of the rickshaw owners and drivers. "A separate formula must be devised for autos which is different from the taxi fares formula as per Hakim committee report" he said. Rao has also proposed the government to issue more permits in Mumbai and Thane addressing the problems faces due to shortage of autos in the city. To bring about uniformity in the rickshaw unions, Rao has proposed to the government that a secret ballot should determine the strength of every union. "The autorickshaw trade enquiry committee and a committee formed to address the issue of tampered electronic meters must be allowed to carry out their work. These committees went inactive after a few meetings. We will move court if these panels are not revived," he said.
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