Change is a constant thing in life, but some times changes make you feel that you are out of the world. For instance a “sorry” word from Modi or any word from MMS is quite a ground breaking thing, and may create panic in the society.
Like all other metros in India, in Chennai, people give half our their salary and peace of mind to the transportation worries (rest 50% is supposedly goes to their home makers). More specifically, when they travel in personal transport like Autos, travel cost reaches sky high.
Recently it’s also observed that, the demanded fare for an auto is so high, some autowalas are giving EMI option for few years. Some even started offering travel on mortgage, so that you can to go to your home at Navalur or beyond, from Chennai central, if you put your home as collateral. Our software engineers who already bought the homes on a loan for 200 years, sadly, couldn’t afford to put themselves under another loan. Last time our reporter negotiated for a good fare, he was offered that he would be dropped at the destination, when the auto wala goes back to his own home, may be in the evening, after taking a bottle from TASMAC. (Govt run wineshop)
Things do change, thanks to Aam Aadme, quite recently authorities have made it mandatory in Chennai to use meters in autos. Its a welcome development, but created a havoc in the city. Saravanan Srinivasan (trust us, he is neither the son nor the son-in-law of BCCI Srinivasan), an IT professional, jumped out of the auto, after the driver switched on the meter.
Saravanan who is working in Chennai since six years, never realized that there is such an instrument in the auto. All of a sudden when the auto driver spun the meter like muththaya muralidharan (ofcourse, son-in-law of Chennai), our IT professional who had to leave to onsite next week, thought it’s a time bomb or one of its younger cousin, and in a panic to save the life of his Samsung galaxy phone, he jumped out of the auto. In a way he succeeded, his phone is safe, but he broke his leg, and is advised a bed rest for 2 more months.
One more similar incident in Ambattur industrial area came to our notice, 26 year old house wife Vaisali Vaidyalingam took auto to go to a nearby market, autowala who never used his rocket meter, while starting the auto, with his left hand tried to switch on the meter and without actually looking backwards, ended up twisting the passenger’s hand. Vaishali started shouting for help, and all the locals gathered up in a minute and without even asking what happened reacted in a hurry, destroyed the auto, only the meter was unbroken. There are also some rumors that some of these meters might catch fire, because of the high speed they run at.
Taking into account these kind of reports, RTA officers are re-thinking about this new rule. Proposals have come to send a group of concerned officers to Thailand to study how they are managing all kinds of fares with utmost customer satisfaction. Meanwhile the Chennai auto riskha association has issued a press release that its a anti-secular and castist decision to make meters as mandatory, this is against the fundamental rights of autos. A Dravidian party DMDMDKDMK, whose election symbol is an auto, also claimed that its in-human to use meters, because the charge is actually for the auto wala not for the auto, and how can a mechanical devise measure human effort in the 21st century.
Govt has not ruled out a plan to introduce govt autos to counter these short-comings. But sources say these autos will only be available between 10-5, excluding the lunch and tea breaks. Chennaites await for a statement from Rajni sir so that things could go to a logical end and problems could come back to normal.