Auto drivers make merry on day of bandh

I arrived in Chennai Central in the Trivandrum Mail at 8.15 am. There was a high presence of cops at the railway station. The first thing I wanted to see was whether the autos were running and I was happy to notice they were. What I had not expected that the auto drivers would use this opportunity to fleece passengers because buses weren’t running. That’s just too bad, isn’t it?

I had to spend Rs 60 to get home to Triplicane instead of the Rs 40 I had spend to get to the railway station three days prior. For no reason other than the fact that buses weren’t running, here I was losing money to the auto driver. And yet I could see no way out.

But I was happy to notice that the streets were calm and there was no violence. The Madras high court move to stop the bandh declared by the ruling party, I had feared, would provoke violence. Fortunately, ruling party cadres turned out to be more sensible than that.

On the flip side, the bandh was discussed everywhere I went in Tiruvalla in Kerala where I had gone to attend a wedding. All my friends from the other states wanted to know what was up. When a friend’s father, a local priest, wondered why the ruling DMK had declared a bandh in the state, inwardly I cringed. What a poor show for a state to compared to the likes of Bihar.

Anyway, it was an unwise move on the part of the ruling party to declare the bandh, especially because this is illegal now.

6 Comments so far

  1. suppamani (unregistered) on October 1st, 2007 @ 8:20 pm

    What else you can expect from such a day

  2. Kokki_Jacobus (unregistered) on October 1st, 2007 @ 9:24 pm

    OMG!! 60 rupees? From central station to Triplicane?? Will these auto drivers *ever* be reined in?

  3. Manoj Jacob (unregistered) on October 1st, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

    I’ve been a bit of an auto fare basher myself, but of late I’ve started looking at the other side of the story. For a distance of 3 km, Govt fares give the auto driver 20 rupees. Now if you’re in Nungambakkam or T Nagar, that 3 km ride could take 30 to 40 minutes. How fair is that? Does any passenger of his own accord think of paying a few extra bucks if the journey takes longer than anticipated? So I don’t find it strange that they turn mercenary when the situation is in their favour. Simple demand-supply funda of marketing.

    Now why is the Government not implementing the fare system? Perhaps they themselves realise they’ve given the auto drivers a raw deal.

  4. shyam (unregistered) on October 1st, 2007 @ 11:34 pm

    Well, firstly, the govt. will not implement the fare structure because most autos are owned by policemen (Conflict of Interest, anyone?). Secondly, most of those who use autos on a regular basis do not turn out to vote on election day, so there is not much incentive to implement it, whereas most auto drivers form part of the voting electorate – so who wants to hurt them? So they announce this fare structure just to look good on Sun TV.

    That said, auto drivers should also be given a fair deal, but what constitutes a fair deal is anybody’s guess.

  5. Madras Lungi (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2007 @ 3:05 am

    I have always thought that Politics in TN these days is as bad or even worser than Bihar!

    I strongly feel that the DMK Govt. must be dismissed for not complying with the SC.

  6. DISTANT MADRAS (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2007 @ 4:49 am

    No matter how much some things change, some still remain the same. The case with auto drivers has been the same for as far as I can remember. I wonder why that is unique to Chennai though. In places like Kochi, they happen to be much more reasonable..

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