The state Transport department has decided to introduce toll free and whatsapp helpline numbers besides bringing in the auto-rickshaw policy before Durga Puja to ensure safety and security of commuters.
It may be mentioned that there had been repeated incidents in the city in which people, including the state food and supplies minister Jyotipriya Mullick, were harassed by auto-rickshaw drivers.
On Tuesday, the state Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari held a meeting with senior officers of his department to finalise the issues, including framing of auto-rickshaw policy, and discuss initiatives to solve the existing problem related to plying of unregistered auto-rickshaws.
A major part of framing the auto rickshaw policy is route rationalisation, which is a mechanism to fix fare of a particular route.
Adhikari said after the meeting that a passenger in trouble can call up the toll free number or send a whatsapp.
At the same time e-mail ids of the transport department will be provided through which they can lodge their complaint.
“The steps would be taken within 48 hours,” he said adding that BSNL has been approached for the phone numbers for the toll free and whatsapp helpline.
He said that at present the number of unregistered auto-rickshaws is quite equal to that of the registered auto-rickshaws.
“We cannot allow illegal plying of any vehicle but at the same time we also have to look into the humane side of it. For four to five errant drivers, around 60,000 others cannot suffer,” he said adding that a decision has been taken to form an auto-rickshaw policy ahead of the Puja.
There was a 2010 order of the Calcutta High Court on plying of auto-rickshaws. Later a draft of a policy was formed by a committee headed by the then joint secretary of the transport department Ashis Thakur.
But for certain reasons it had not been implemented. The state transport department has once again taken step to introduce the policy.
The department has also formed a route management committee for auto-rickshaws to decide the
number of auto-rickshaws required on routes as per the passenger load or whether there is any such route where plying of the vehicles lead to loss of drivers.
Steps would also be taken to solve the problem of the existing unregistered auto-rickshaws.