Traffic police crack down on overcharging autos

NEW DELHI: The traffic police on Sunday joined the Delhi state transport department in cracking down on autorickshaw and taxi drivers for overcharging.

Joint commissioner of police (traffic) Maxwell Pereira said, ‘‘We will go the whole hog with prosecution this time. Firm instructions have been issued to the traffic personnel saying not let the errant auto drivers go without prosecuting them.’’The police will assist the transport department in the crackdown from Sunday.

But the traffic police’s record, so far this year, has been dismal. Till July 15, the traffic police personnel had prosecuted only 5,559 auto drivers
for overcharging and misbehaving, as against 11,635 drivers during the same period last year.

‘‘The problem of overcharging was rampant this year. There were more instances of overcharging this year, ever since the auto drivers had to fit electronic fare meters. But the traffic police adopted the go-slow process,’’ said Anil Sood of Chetna, a voluntary outfit working against the problem of overcharging. Instead of cracking down on erring auto drivers, the traffic police had turned a blind eye. The prosecutions on several offences have dipped, as only 1,332 — as against 1,661 last year — auto drivers with defective meters had been booked till July 15. Similarly, they had prosecuted only 5,472 auto drivers — vis-a-vis 14,359 drivers last year — on account of refusal. ‘‘This established the connivance between traffic policemen and auto drivers. Reduced prosecution figures show the policemen neither have the will nor intention to crack the whip on auto drivers,’’ Sood said.

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