For the last one fortnight, most of the media in Cochin discusses the plight of the commuters traveling by Auto rickshaws and the police actions to discipline the auto rickshaw drivers in Cochin. While the columns after columns are dedicated to the police actions and remedial measures suggested, I wonder how much we heard from the auto rickshaw drivers and their livelihood demands. Many times, I wondered why are we treating auto rickshaw drivers as inhuman, cruel and criminals? Aren’t they also belong to the same society that I and you belong to. then why are we discriminating them to cast criminal aspersions on them every time? Cant we cite criminals in all the domains of work but can we generalize that all those into a profession are criminals?


It has been reported that authorities are planning to revisit the permits issued and rearrangement (relocation) of the auto rickshaw stands in the city. I wish these decisions are taken after discussing it with all the stake holders involved. Do we have a mapping system which indicates the locations are areas where autos are more in demand. What is the total commuting population traveling by auto in Cochin? why are they using autos in these areas and locations? what are the issues faced by auto rickshaw drivers/ owners from the day one ‘looking for buying a new auto?’ How are these autos help public transport system in Cochin? Aren’t they a part of public transport in Cochin? How did we integrate this system into the public transport mechanism in Cochin? if auto rickshaw drivers are not happy with the fare stages, what are the reasons? who are responsible from the Government side to oversee the smooth functioning of the auto rickshaw system in Cochin? how do they facilitate to ensure the improvement in the efficiency of the system?


Do you think Metro rail will solve all the transportation issues in Cochin? Can they solve the last mile connectivity that I and you face every day? In fact, Autos are going to be the ventilators for the metro rail in Cochin. If you want to push Metro rail into ICU now itself, you don’t need to answer the above questions…


D Dhanuraj


Centre for Public Policy Research


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