Bhayandar: Taking cognizance of the news article “Commuters Affected by Errant Auto Drivers” published in The Free Press Journal, highlighting the illegal auto-rickshaw menace, the traffic administrative wing of the Thane (rural) along with their Regional Transport Office (RTO) counterparts launched a massive crackdown to tighten the screws on rogue auto drivers in the twin-city.
In an attempt to weed out illegally plying auto-rickshaws in the region, the teams led by Senior Police Inspector (Traffic), Anil Pawar, and RTO officer, Ravindra Gaikwad, under the instructions of SP Dr Shivaji Rathod, had initiated a joint drive on Tuesday.
Apart from the action against around 118 auto drivers for the lack of basic requirements, including badges, uniforms, fitness certificates, licenses and even compliance plate indicating a valid CNG cylinder, others were taken to task for refusing commuters to ply-by-meter and charging exorbitant rates for small distances.
Moreover, 11 rickshaw's that were found plying without valid documents, including permits, were immediately taken off the roads with immediate effect.
While all the vehicles were impounded and handed over to the RTO department for further action, fines were netted by the way of e-challan's from the auto-drivers.
"To instill discipline about rules and weed out illegalities, we have scheduled a meeting with leaders of local auto unions. The drive will continue," said Pawar.
Although around 7,500 auto-rickshaws have been issued valid permits by authorities, an additional 2,000 autos are believed to be illegally plying in the twin-city.
Apart from this, autos enter the region from neighbouring cities and hundreds of autos have crossed their authorised lifespan of 16 years but continue to ply on the roads with impunity.
By Suresh Golani