It was somewhere around about Feb-2011. It was a beautiful Saturday morning.
Time was just half passed nine. I was happy to breath the smell of our
lovely Belgaum. Rani Chennamma was late that day by 15min, but that didn’t
matter as landing in Belgaum makes u forget everything. My house was just 15
minutes walk (approx. 2KM) from the railway station, but eagerness to reach
home early was always in mind. I planned to hire an auto as it may just cost
me Rs. 20/-.
Even the Govt. is fed up by negotiating with Auto unions everywhere in the
State. Its good they have come up with a plan to help the citizens with
pre-paid auto service. Because negotiating with fares with an auto drive is
like fighting with a group of communist’s. I hope every single person had a
With a singe small bag in hand, I planned to use pre-paid auto at least
once in life time since I always use pre-paid auto service in Bangalore. I
just searched for a Re.1/- in my pocket and found a Rs. 2/- coin. The scene
around was like hell, people with heavy bags were struggling with the auto
drivers to negotate for a fixed price to their destination. I felt, Why do
people still struggle so much when govt is helping us by providing pre-paid
service. I could see some auto drives in a group near the pre-paid counter.
Hardly 3-4 autos were in the Queue. I happily started walking towards the
A civil dressed person came running to the counter and entered the small
room where pre-paid service is provided. I asked him where is the Traffic
Police, is it not that the Traffic Police handles this counter as it happens
in Bangalore. He replied, ‘No, here I only take care of this counter’. He
asked, ‘Where I want to go ?” I replied, “I need to go to Tanaji Galli’. He
asked, “Which Tanaji Galli? Gandhi Nagar or near Sambaji Ground”. I said,
“Near Sambaji Ground”. He asked me to pay Re.1/-. I gave him Rs.2/-. He said
he had no change. I said its OK.
He printed a ticket with an Auto Rickshaw No. and called a Auto
Driver pass-by and said, Customer wanna goto Tanaji Galli.
I took the ticket and just went through as to see what is written and how
much they are charging me. I was shocked. I read it twice, it mentioned my
destination was Mal Maruti and fare was 45 Rs. I went back to the counter
and asked i wanna goto Tanaji Galli and not Mal Maruti. The person replied,
All rates are same, Mal Maruti and Tanaji Galli all costs the same. I was
angry, i said my destination is hardly 2KM from here, then why do i need to
pay so much. He said, if u wanna go u get in the auto or go by walk. By the
next moment around 6 auto drivers joined him and asked him whats the matter.
He described what all happened. The Auto drivers started argiving with me.
They said “Subha Subha dhanda maat bagado, anna hai tho aao nahi to chalte
I turned around to find a police, I saw a traffic police at the gate and
narrated him the full story. My god, he said he can’t help me. I was
shocked. I asked why. He didn’t reply anything.
I forgot to read the policeman’s name on his batch.
I threw away the ticket and started walking out of the station. I hired an
auto out side the old KEB office. I asked the auto driver who was an old
man, Do u wanna come to Tanaji Galli? He replied yes, I asked how much? He
said 25Rs. I said 20Rs. He agreed.
I discussed with him about what happened. He said this happens daily, there
is no one to ask them (pre-paid people).
Hmmm somehow I reached my house with my mood off.
I feel we need to fight back and find whats wrong in that place. We need to
find who is behind all this mess which is been happening for past many days
or months or may be years. even today Auto-drivers are looting people and no
one is fighting back. we need to fix this issue to make Belgaum a lovely
place to stay.
By Brahmanand Chipre
CPI Traffic has replied to this post on the TPB page—–Auto pre-paid running by Railway dept.its their jurisdiction,and men in white working near railway station are not traffic police they are all railway police men.
Disclaimer:This is a letter written by Mr.Chipre to AAB. We still dont know if same is still going on.if anyone else faced a smiliar incident please share.