Auto rickshaws in Tripura were mandated to ply on set routes, failing which they would attract a penalty of Rs 2,000

Agartala: Tripura government in its cabinet meeting on Thursday decided to scrap the route permit system and introduce e-meters for all the auto rickshaws plying under the Agartala Municipal Corporation.

Speaking at a press conference, law minister Ratan Lal Nath said that at present, there are 6,545 auto rickshaws under the corporation, plying on 241 different routes in the city.

The single route permit system was introduced in 1991 by the then Left front government. The system mandated auto rickshaws to ply on set routes, failing which they would attract a penalty of Rs 2,000. As per the revised system, there would be no route permit in Agartala city council area. Instead, a single municipal permit would be issued for auto rickshaw driving rights and route permits would be replaced by fair meters.

“Passengers now face difficulties as the service of the auto rickshaws are available only in the respective routes. For a man traveling from Battala to Airport, one had to change auto three times in order to reach his destination,” Nath said.

Even the auto drivers faced problems and on various occasions had to pay penalty for driving out of their permitted routes. Under the new system, now the drivers can move across the corporation to any route and even reach up to the doorstep of the passengers, Nath added.

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The rate of charge for the passengers will be starting from minimum Rs 20 up to a maximum distance of 1.5 km and from 1.5 up to 4.16 km the rate would be Rs 30, after which for every km Rs 7.20 will be added in the meter reading.

Keeping in mind the convenience of the people the cabinet has also decided to launch 25 ‘town buses’ that would move across the city from 6.30 in the morning to 9 at night.

Meanwhile, welcoming the decision of the state government, Biswendu Bhattacharjee, member of ARPAN Society, said that the society had filed a case in Gauhati High Court in 2008 and the verdict was given in their favour, but the then state government did not execute the verdict.

Again in 2013, a case was filed regarding the implementation of the necessary guidelines in Tripura High Court the previous government did not execute it. Hence, the present state government will implement it.

The auto drivers will also be provided with the meters and identity cards whereas a dress code will also be set for all auto rickshaw drivers under Agartala Municipal Corporation as the implementation of the order begins.

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