Mumbai, India – Auto rickshaw unions in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) are gearing up for a silent protest on February 16, expressing their dissatisfaction with the implementation of the e-challan system. The unions argue that fines are being issued arbitrarily and without their knowledge, prompting them to demand a return to paper challans and seeking a waiver for incorrectly imposed fines. The protest is expected to have repercussions on public transport, particularly as BEST bus services are already facing reductions.
Union members plan to assemble at Azad Maidan and regional transport offices (RTO) to vocalize their concerns. With accumulated traffic fines reaching a staggering ₹685 crore over the past five years, auto drivers have emerged as major defaulters.
The unions assert that the e-challan system often inaccurately fines auto rickshaws, calling for government intervention to rectify these errors. Their demands include waiving fines erroneously imposed through the e-challan system and a return to the use of paper challans. Additionally, the unions advocate for a more stringent approach, suggesting the confiscation of licenses for traffic rule violators instead of imposing repeated fines.
While RTO officials emphasize the frequent traffic violations committed by auto rickshaws, union representatives counter by advocating for increased parking spaces and fair treatment in comparison to other vehicles.
In a separate development, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is exploring plans to designate dedicated parking spots for autos within the Jio World Center at Bandra Kurla Complex. This initiative aims to address parking challenges in the business district and provide a viable solution for auto rickshaw parking.