IMPHAL, Aug 22: The joint association of the drivers and owners of passenger auto-rickshaws, Tata Magic vans and jeeps held a meeting today at Ghari Makha community hall regarding the reduction of fares as demanded by various civil society organizations of the state.
Speaking at the meeting, I. Balakanta stated that the transport fare of passenger auto-rickshaws and jeeps operating in the state has been fixed at Rs. 5 for the last 15 years but the price of petrol and diesel has increased drastically during the 15 years.
The drivers and owners have just hiked the fare in consideration of the problems of price rise of essential commodities and not against the interests of the people of the state, he said.
The association would not decrease the fare from Rs. 8 until and unless the state government announces a fixed rate, he said while, however, agreeing that the fare for the students would continue to be only Rs. 5 as fixed earlier.
He also appealed to the people to have some compassion for the drivers and owners who earn their daily bread through such simple jobs of transportation.
Another auto driver said that it is quite unfortunate for the drivers and owners to get threats from various quarters for mere hike of the fare by just three rupees. The association would stop transportation if they are to get only Rs. 5 amidst high price of petroleum products in the state, he noted.
He further questioned if anyone has seen any auto driver having a palatial building and added the drivers are striving hard just for earning a square meal a day.