statesman news service
Kolkata, 5 Oct: Auto-rickshaws will not be allowed to ply on major city roads for a week starting from Panchami.
State transport minister, Mr Madan Mitra, said the move has been taken to keep the roads free of congestion.
Starting from 7 p.m. on Panchami to 17 October, the transport department has decided not to allow auto-rickshaws on the major roads. The existing routes of auto-rickshaws will remain but the autos will take the lanes and bylanes instead of the thoroughfares.
Kolkata Police has already barred auto-rickshaws from plying in the city from 4 p.m. to 5 a.m. on all four Durga Puja days. The ban is in place for the past 10 years. But, from this year onwards, the restriction will be imposed throughout the day.
The transport department&’s move is likely to leave commuters harassed. “Once autos ply through the lanes, drivers will charge higher fares on the pretext of the increase in travel time. Moreover, we will not be able to board the autos from the bus stands, like we usually do,” said a commuter who uses the Ultadanga-Sovabazar auto route.
Another commuter said that the situation would have been better had the norm been implemented only in the evenings.
A leader of an auto union said associations have been appealing against the Kolkata Police’s earlier order. “Restrictions have now been increased. Absence of autos will compel people to opt for expensive modes of transport like hired cars,” he added.