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Revised auto rickshaw fares to be implemented after poll code ends

Delhi govt had approved hike of Rs 1.5 per km in existing rate of Rs 8 per km

NEW DELHI: The revised fares on auto-rickshaws approved by the Delhi government in March will be notified and implemented soon after the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha election ends, officials said.

The Transport Department officials of the Delhi government said preparations are being made so that fare metres are smoothly calibrated and the revised fares could be charged by auto-rickshaw drivers.

The Delhi government on March 8 had approved recommendations of a committee for hike of Rs 1.5 per km in existing rate of Rs 8 per km for around 90,000 autos playing on the city roads.

It also approved revision in base fare from existing Rs 25 for first two kilometres to Rs 25 for 1.5 kilometres.

Transport minister Kailash Gahlot has directed the department to issue the notification for implementation of revised auto fares after the poll code ends, a Transport department official said.

"The notification will be issued and revised rates will be in place within a week of end of the model code of conduct. But the fare meters will require to be recalibrated to calculate the new rates," he said.

The hike in auto fares, which was last revised by the then Sheila Dikshit government in 2013, was aimed at wooing 90,000-odd auto-rickshaw drivers in Delhi ahead of the Lok Sabha election. A large section of auto-rickshaw drivers vehemently backed the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, first in its maiden election in December 2013 and then in February 2015.

However, unions of auto-rickshaw drivers in the city termed the hike in fares as 'inadequate' and asked it to rein in unregulated app-based cab services. "Government's fare revision is an inadequate move. It has not done anything on our main demand to check surging number of app-based taxis that have eaten into our passenger base," said Rajender Soni, general secretary of Delhi Auto-rickshaw Sangh.

He also demanded subsidy of Rs 15 on CNG fuel, which is currently available at rate of Rs 45 per kg. The Delhi Auto-rickshaw Sangh also demanded a flat rate of Rs 10 per km, but it was not met, Soni said.

The fare hike will further hit the auto-rickshaw drivers who have been facing difficulty in finding passengers due to a large number of app-based taxis on the road, said Kishan Verma, president of All Delhi Auto Taxi Congress Union.

The Transport minister had said fare revision is not a reserved subject and there is no need for the approval of the Lieutenant Governor.

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