Toto-auto drivers clash again at Bandel, RAF deployed
Several auto and toto drivers were injured following a clash between them over the construction of a stand for Totos near Bandel station premises on Friday morning.
A police picket has been set up in the area. RAF was deployed to maintain peace and the injured drivers were sent to hospital for treatment. The police is conducting a raid in the area to arrest those involved in the clash.
This is for the second consecutive day when the clash between the drivers took place. Commuters were greatly inconvenienced. There were a few autos and totos on the road. The clashing groups are trying to establish their control over the area.
For years, there is an auto stand near the station complex. The toto drivers are now trying to set up a stand where they can park their vehicles and wait for passengers.
The clash started on Friday when some toto drivers tried to pick up passengers who were waiting for autos. As travelling in totos is cheaper, commuters prefer totos to autos.
To scare toto drivers, some auto drivers armed with lathis attacked them. The toto drivers also retaliated and a clash ensued.
Police arrived and chased away the clashing driver. They sent those who were injured to hospital. There is an uneasy calm in the areas surrounding Bandel station. Hundreds of people who go to Bandel to visit the church were affected the worst. The Hooghly district administration is looking into the matter.
Clashes between auto and toto drivers were rampant when totos were introduced some years ago. The auto drivers thought that because of the introduction of totos, their income had gone down. But the auto drivers had to accept the totos as they received support from administration.
A senior official in Hooghly said the auto drivers so long kept quiet as totos did not have any stand and the drivers solely relied on flying passengers. But construction of a stand will give toto drivers more stability and income as they will get more passengers.