This episode of Mathandrae Mathu Manadalada Mathu features Narasimha Murthy and RJ Auto Shiv Kumar.
Narasimha Murthy is the Upadhyaksha (vice president) of the people’s forum – Auto Chalakara Janapara Vedikeya – of autorickshaw drivers. He has been an auto driver for 28 long years, which is why in spite of having risen to the position of vice president, he has never forgotten the minute responsibilities of an auto driver. There may be others, though, who forget small duties once they earn some community power. These unprincipled auto drivers malign the good name of the entire community; they often ignore lane discipline and jump traffic signals.
Other factors have contributed to the distress of sincere auto drivers in the city, pushing them to protest. The RTO is found to be influenced by corruption, and the BBMP also doesn’t look after the maintenance of roads. The government has not provided any schemes or benefits to the auto drivers and their families in spite of the auto drivers paying taxes. The government must provide them access to health and education welfare schemes. Technological advances and the introduction of cab aggregator services like Ola and Uber have proven to be both useful and a disadvantage. Ola and Uber have overtaken regular auto drivers in terms of business. “The government must implement a meter system for them too to equalize the profit,” suggests Murthy.
Only 7 organisations are currently actively working for the betterment of the auto driver communities. In some other organisations, malpractices are common. Lack of accurate guidance has resulted in a few auto drivers falling prey to corrupt practices and foul play. “We at our forum try our level best to provide good guidance to the drivers, but it’s up to them whether to follow that advice or not. We hope that the government understands our requirements and takes some steps to stop such malpractices,” says Murthy.
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