This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Swati Dey. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

A Young Woman Shares Why The Daily Hassle With Delhi Autowallahs Is Just ‘Unfair’

More from Swati Dey

By RD Swati:

The other day, someone posted on my FB wall about his conversation with an auto-driver, wherein the latter expressed his dissatisfaction with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi. He also shared that he regrets his choice of promoting AAP. (auto-drivers in 2013 played a key role in promoting AAP in Delhi, by carrying their posters for free or at cheap rates). Freedom of choice is a fundamental right – and it should be respected, whosever it may be. However, the wall-post forced me to ask another random auto-driver the reason for the same. He responded, “Kya kaanoon bana diya hai, jisko dekho call kar deta hai or hamara challan karvaa deta hai” (How unfair are the laws that they have made! Whoever can call and complain against us, and the court then penalises us with a challan). He added, “It is no more an Aam Aadmi’s (common man) party, but a party that is also filling its pocket from our hard-earned money”.

The Norms

1. It has been a rule in Delhi that no auto-driver should charge the passengers unreasonably and run by meter only.

2. The day charges and the night charges are different.
During the day: the downing charge for the initial 2 kilometres is Rs 25 ; and then, Rs 8 for each kilometre.
At night: the downing charge is Rs 32 and the total fare is 25% more than the day fare (11 pm – 5 am).

3. The waiting charge is Rs 30 per hour (subject to a minimum of 15 minutes stay).
Luggage: Rs 7.50 is levied for luggage that is heavier or bigger than shopping bags or small suitcases.

4. Ever since September 2014, no auto-driver can deny going to any place or have favourites for locations, be it during the day or at night – until they have an ‘on-duty’ board displayed at the front. Respecting their wish to be able to go home without inviting a prosecution, they are allowed to pick passengers on their way home only when they display an ‘off-duty’ board with location mentioned on it. The amount of challan for refusal is Rs 2000.

5. If passengers find any auto-driver not running by the meter or refusing to go without the ‘off-duty’ board, the passengers can report to the transport helpline: +91-11-42-400-400. It is mandatory for the autos to display this number as well.

6. The helpline representative would ask for the vehicle no., origin and destination location and passenger’s credentials (name, address and mobile no.). The passenger would also have to speak to the auto-driver to validate requests (either trying to convince him or at least hear his part and not be biased).

7. If the auto-driver is still being stubborn about overcharging, refusing, or running without fixing the meter, the helpline registers a complaint, and a reference to the complaint is sent to the passengers’ mobile no. The passenger after a few days, gets a confirmation call from the traffic line, for having processed the challan successfully.

A Sneak-Peak

The increase in the minimum fare from Rs 20 to Rs 25 (since May 2013) and the per kilometre fare from Rs 6.5 to Rs 8 (Rs 4.5 per km in 2010) was followed by a strike due to an increase in CNG price (many auto drivers did not support the strike as increased fare would have only increased the auto-rentals, not benefitting them so much; but they were absent from the road to avoid the violence of the hooligans).

In 1997, the Supreme Court had stopped issuing new permits for they were concerned about the pollution caused by the smoke emitted by autos. This resulted in many autos being bought from the black market financiers at a higher cost. Many took loans at higher interest rates from the financiers, due to the absence of bank credit. Overcharging was one way for repaying the loan, afford the CNG conversion that followed, handling the police and feeding their families.

On November 19, 2010, SC judges allowed permits to 45,000 new auto rickshaws, which dropped black-market permit price. In 2014, SC allowed Delhi government to have 1.5 lakh autos. The government had also tied up with 3 banks (PNB, Indusind Bank & State Bank Bikaner and Jaipur) for facilitation of loans for auto-drivers – to save them from high-interest rates charged by the local financiers.

Many commuters (auto) have had experiences of auto-drivers either claiming that the meter is damaged or simply refusing to go if the passengers deny commuting with the higher prices; drivers even speed off on the mention of locations they don’t wish to go towards. This becomes troublesome especially for those patients, senior citizens and pregnant women, who neither can afford a cab nor bear the hassles of a DTC bus. Others opt for autos to save their time, and end up paying more than what the meter would estimate. The overcharge could have been justified a few years ago due to the burdening loan and CNG conversion. However, with the revision of fare, allowance of more permits, availability of bank credit, is it really fair for an auto driver to charge over Rs 8 for a kilometre? We should also keep in mind that each kilometre doesn’t cost more than Rs 1.50 in CNG, even with the additional two or three rupees on each kilometre for maintenance, rent, road tax, bribes and miscellaneous.

If one wants to tip the auto-driver, it should be by choice and not something that is imposed or demanded. This regulation on Delhi auto-rickshaws makes commuting a little more convenient – at least better than the neighbouring cities – Noida or Gurgaon.

However, immense money, time and mental calm would have been saved if we had an equally efficient bus service and no potholed roads (that annoy auto-drivers more). On waiting for a bus for long at Anand Lok, when I had once called the helpline (011-41-400-400), the associate had replied saying,”aati hi Hogi…” (must be on its way).

Many buses indeed don’t stop at all the bus stops. I hope that some light be bestowed on that too.

_

Image source: Ronit Bhattacharjee/ FlickR
You must be to comment.

More from Swati Dey

Similar Posts

By Nishchal Singh Rajput

By Preeti Ojha

By Mister August

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below