The Rickshawwallahs


Letter from Mona

It amazes me that we have grown as a country and have all the latest technologies, etc but when it comes to the Rickshawwallah’s how come they do not use the meter based system?


My parents are old and live in Belgaum by themselves. They do not have car or driver and are dependent on the public transportation system. They live in Jaddhav nagar. Neither is a Rickshaw stand close by nor do Rickshaws come frequently in their area so they have to walk to club road on the way they have to stop any passing rickshaw and ask them if he is willing to transport them. If he says yes, then they have to ask him how much he will charge as, inspite of having a meter based system they do not follow the system. They charge exhorbitantly. Mumbai is more expensive to live but with meter based system they charge Rs 20 for a distance of 2 or 3 kms but in Belgaum the same distance they charge 30 bucks or they will not take you. My parents have no choice as they have no energy to walk that much nor do they have to energy to argue so they have to cough up the money. This, when Belgaum is a cheaper place to live in than Mumbai?

My question is what is the RTO office doing? Are they blind to all this. Is there a nexus between the Rickshawwallah’s and them? Why do the Rickshawwallahs have to put a meter if they dont have to follow the rule.

Will please address this grievance. I am sure there are many people like my parents who are old and living by themselves and others who plainly know that they will be paying more which hurts their pocket and have no choice but to walk miles.

Appreciate if anyone there can start a movement on this which will help the citizens of Belgaum on the whole.

Thank you


AAB on 15 February 2010 had made a similar kind of post.

post made in August 2007.



  1. Mr. Uday ! Assalam w alaikum
    I have recently released my Urdu book entitled ” BELGAUM TAREEKH KE AYEENE MEN”which has about 267 pages .It depects the history of Belgaum and other things related to my community.It is in my pen name ‘ayeensamad khanapuri’, is essentially a dedicated research work towards documenting the role and contributions of the minority Muslim community of the district from historical and contemporary perspectives. It is tribute and reminiscent as to how the members of Muslim community made common cause with the native community in various spheres of the society – right from the days of the Kadamba to Adil Shahi dynasties. It traces the role of saints, freedom fighters (around 137 freedom fighters listed in the book), the past and contemporary poets who have enriched the Urdu literature in this part of Karnataka and the role of philanthropic educationists who sacrificed and worked to ensure that the members, particularly the poor children and youth were not denied of benefits of education. The book also highlights contributions of the community members towards strengthening cultural harmony and contributions in the direction of expeditious economic progress of this boundary city/district of Belagavi.
    I have prepared my mind to translate & publish the book in Hindi . So in this connection I need your help and co-operation . I am trying to meet you personally for the purpose. Would you allow me for the same?
    My Ph. 9880924402 and Email as :[email protected] I stay at Subhash Nagar,Belgaum.

  2. Dear Uday/Mona

    for past 1.5 months I was contacting some media persons and some social activists to support Belgaumites to fight against this issue, and the results were such that they were not willing to come front to do it, Social activists dont want to protest against this as they may not get VOTE BANK support in future from auto drivers,

    But as I enquired a lowyer this problem can be solved by goverment when some one files a petention at district/high court of karnataka asking for normalised auto fair all over the state. Please revert to me on this.


    Mahantesh V

  3. so wat you want them to do serve u the whole day n wait in places where u dont find a fare. come on man be practicle. we can work out on something like they do for meeru taxis in bangalore it will be expencive but still works in need…..

  4. now days place like jadhav nagar , r c nagar etc . you wont find autos after 8:30. the auto guys dissapper.. you find them in Bars..

  5. come on guys chill all know wat will happen n wat wont happen you o ur part n hope for the has to work hard to live in todays world. not every one can pay tht extra 10 rupees.

  6. I Think Mahant is over reacting to this… cool down Mahant. Its nice to know that u want to change the systeem, But as truly said "if u go in to change the system, the system will chane you".

    • Let me see….

      who will change what …. N I know people like you and your mentality/attitude very well…

      Thanks for your words .

  7. I would suggest the person whoever is leading this sit down with the Auto Rickshaw union first and see if matters can be resolved with mutual understanding which I am sure most of you will say no point in doing that. But, give the guys a chance? I can't help to be straight as I live far away.
    If not by mutual agreement then enforcement will be required.
    The best would be if we agree a "fare" which is favourable to the Rickshawallah ( i.e gives him some profit) then there is no question for him to bargain. Instead of bargaining he will just "down the meter".
    But untill such time that the autowallah doesn't trust the meter i.e he believes it will be uneconomical for him he won't use it.
    We are ready to pay Rs150 to watch movies in Multiplexes, Eat Rs 50 icecreams but think 100 times when we have to pay an extra Rs 10 to the Autowallah just probably because he is a soft target.

    • how often you watch movies n how often you use autos ?

      watching movies in multiplex n enjoying Rs 50 icecream is your choice, is there any choise in Autos/rikshawala ? ,,, If things were not economical then 80,000 auto’s would never commensed their duty in Bengalooru.
      But I agree with you in some cases where in Belgaum rikshawala’s may find some low traffic/passengers for that reason a compensatory fair can be paid, but not the LOOT MAAR….

      Thanks for your suggestions ….

  8. Once again I would like to thank everyone for their responses and proud of those who are willing to take up this cause. I just heard today that dharwad and hubli that Rto and police commissionrate have decided to maek an auto database to check harrasment by auto drivers.
    @mahant: Thank you, for the bold inititative of calling for the meeting on 15th May, My parents and sister who is visiting them is willing to come with all of you. If you could provide a venue and time to meet would be wonderful. I am not sure though, does the DC office work on Saturday? Please let us know.
    Everyone else here you have someone who is willing to take the lead, please lend him support and fight for what is right? Do the right thing for your country, state and you as a person.

    • Hi Mona

      Thanks for your response, even my parents stay in Belgaum n I am far away from them, I have called a meet but still there is a very low response on this, But instead I am planning to make use of some social activits to approach commissioner office, Once it is done i will keep u posted and u can inform ur parents. It will happen shortly.

      Thank you

  9. Very nice attempt at putting a thought process together.

    Right to Information Act 2005 (by Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions) mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information. You want to make sure if at all there is anything like “auto fare policy” exists in Karnataka or Belgaum RTO books. A lawyer would be helpful, who could approach government for such information. If the fare information be available, it must widely publicized on website, newspapers so that citizens know and have habit for fighting for right price rather than yielding to quoted price. Even if the meter is not working, citizen can haggle to arrive at fix price. Based on govt auto fare policy, an approximate estimate of distances and fare between common point A and point B would be helpful for citizens.

    Why should common man care if the autowallah has bought the auto at whatever interest rate from bank or on a per diem basis? I am sure the government must have take into account various factors including socio-economic status of autowallah. That is what an IAS/IPS officer and his office is for, putting together wisely and thoughtfully developed proposals and present it to government for approval and for improving city infrastructure. But considering the quality of administrative officers, do you think it’s a possibility?

    • Why a different rules for Bgm autos. Bangalore Mumbai all charge by meter then why not in BGM. Arent they humans in those places and arent we here

  10. i believe if metre rule applies both the drivers n passengers will be happy n there will be more passengers n can make more profit.

    if any one has any problem to wat i have said or didnt like wat i said share it i would be here to reply .

  11. now passengers are scared to board a auto n mostly look for a bus or just walk. if you place a meter n charge according to the metre the number of passengers will increase.
    now its become a trend in bgm to ask for the fair before u get in to a auto
    100 rupees

  12. @ jimmy
    i used to drive auto n i know the difficulties wat auto drivers face.but wat ur saying about the 300 rupees per day and 30 to 40 % interest is rubbish. u can hire a auto from Rs100 to 150 per day .
    i agree with wat you said about the A to B. one has to come empty from some places.that dosent mean you have to charge them double.

  13. Just go to Central Bus Stand anytime OR try enquiring Auto fare from Railway Station after alighting from Goa Express Midnight and you will get to know the attitude of these Auto walas. If anyone argues then they can experience group of Auto Drivers coming and negotiating as if they are favouring the passengers but coming in a group would misguide an otherwise reasonable prudent person.
    Cops are busy with their work (Everyone knows what work ?)
    I think the Non Govt Organisations can take a lead because this is not an issue which can be tackled by an individual.Lets hope something good comes out.

  14. firstly i would suggest is make only one draft of an application to all the concerned heads requesting to impose the meter reading mandatory and that application to be linked for download and request all the belgaumites to post it to the concerned head at one time or before a specific date set and a count of all the letters sent to be kept, after some time the application followed by a rti would help to solve the problem

  15. hey guys
    This is an important issue. We need to solve it. Make a dedicated group which will work towards the solution. Taking all issues that a rickshaw wala faces fix a proper rate and charge that. No one wants to harrass the auto people and no one wants to get harrassed. Work on a solution. Click photos of non co operative autos, Get them on your cell videos and take it to the RTO or post them here. Lets make everyone aware of how to deal with the issue. In Mumbai Mid Day did the same with the taxi wallahs. With the co operation of police, RTO, they have got the taxi guys toe the line. Let us be the change we want……

  16. Actions speak louder than words…

    How many of you are ready to meet CM or Transport minister directly regarding this ?

    I saty in Bengalooru. Behalf of Belgaum/Belagaavi citizens I am ready to approach Goverment, How many of you will join the hand ?

    • Mr.Satsih Kumar had written an email to the CM of Karnataka on February 15, 2010, the CM office had forwarded the mail with the link to AAB story to Commissioner transport on teh very same day saying” for necessary action”
      But no action taken that is a different matter.
      We all can join you What shall we do ?

      • “Together we can do anything for Belgaum….

        If letter passed from CM office to Transport commissioner and no action has been taken yet, then its commissioners problem or he may be not interested to work on this because of some reasons,,, why don’t we catch hold of him directly ?

        After approaching transport commissioner also if things don’t work, then we can escalate the issue to transport minister and CM….

        In our system officers are little lazy/corrupted we got to wake them up… “

  17. We all know that it is the Auto unions and the RTO and local political nexus which operates hand -in-hand to ensure each group's interest is protected. So unless people unite and teach a lesson or force the authorities involved to take measures … nothing will happen.

  18. Belgaum Autowallahas !

    It is not the experience of only Ms Mona. I am associated with Belgaum since 1968. I stayed at Belgaum from 1968 to 1978 and now staying since 2006. The mental attitude of Autowallahas in Belgaum has remained the same all these years. They always trt to exploit the poor passenger and specially so if the passengers are from outside Belgaum and if it is night time. Strangely, the night starts fro them at 7.00 pm. They behave very crude with the users. No DC or SP of Belgaum have ever tried to bring them to book. No authority at Belgaum has ever tried to put them on right track and charge according to meter. It is painful to travel in autos at Belgaum all these years.

    SM Katti

  19. No one has the guts in belgaum to stop us. We are united and have a strong union. The govt babus are afraid of us, forget the aam aadmi. We rule in belgaum. Your so called elected netas too cannot do anything about us. Jai Ho Belgaum Rickshaw union.

    • Yes, you are right no one has guts to stop you and you people are ruling Belgaum. But friend if you read history many rulers are beggers now! Families of TIPU SULTAN are begging in kolkata( recent read news article) Once upon time in Belgaum theatres running successfully peoples are begging for tickets and theatre employees and black ticket sellers ruling. If you see today these people are really begging in belgaum streets and doing hamali works. You people are filling your stomach with aam admi's money and__you are not caring about them. It is like " jis thali me khate ho usi me thukana" .Hope that you are recently entered in this line enjoying harrassing passangers with your so called buttera's (code word of rickshawalla 1 butter= Rs.10/-). But friend it will not last longer, nature will take its course of action and will learn a lesson..

  20. Jimy – Thanks for highlighting points that most of us would abruptly ignore. Rikshaw-wallahs are humans as well and they too deserve a living. However, it does not mean that they make a "killing". While there is a significant increase in the rate per km in Belgaum when compared to Mumbai, the same can be incorporated in the "meter". All we're asking is for them to be fair. We're ready to pay a fair price by the meter – we're ready to give them a fair profit – however, they shouldn't take us for a *ride*!

  21. Regardless of BUS facility,there is no substitute for Autos(as in an emergency)Hence METER FARE for Autos is a Must and it must be implemented immediately.
    The Police,if they want and have the will to enforce,can take action.The police having been taking action against speedy vehicles by using the speed-gun,hence they can also check the Auto for meter-fare.I guess the former(speed-gun) fetches them money and the latter(auto) cant get them any money and hence they are reluctant about it

  22. Kai karnar hey belgao che Saghle rikshaw-wale asshech ahet tondat yeil te bhav sangtat. Kai tar karaila hava atta

  23. All,
    Before you kill the Rickshawallahs think of these points,
    a) Mumbai metro per kms is Rs 5-6 on average. This is because if the rickshaw goes from point (a) to (b) there is a 90% probability that there will be a passenger at (b). In Belgaum probably this is not possible. He may go form (a) to (b) but may have to return to (a) probably at the rickshaw stand.Hence effectively the costs is somehere Rs 7-8 per km in small cities.
    Other points worth considering
    a) Poor Rickswallahs sometime rent the autos which as per my research is Rs 300 per day.
    b) Some poor rickshawallahs take unsecured loans which are charged at 30-40% interest.
    Before making harsh judgements I would very much do a thorough cost benefit analysis and fix a per km fare for the auto's based on
    a) city or rural route
    b) Cost of fuel+ cost of maintenance+cost of tax +interest +insurance costs per kms
    c) Allow a certain %profit margin as the rickswallah even has to live in a good standard of living.
    Best Regards

  24. Thank you, to the team of to make this into a story, and you the citizens of Belgaum who replied to this story. I am too far away to help except verbally and with written or telephone communications. i will be calling the RTO office myself and also to the CM's office. I have heard this is a problem all over Karnataka.
    It is really sad that people who sit high up do not understand the hardships faced by the common man despite the common man working in the high up office. Ironic to say the least. There is not one politician who can say, " Ok, I have enough money for me and my family to live comfortably, Let me now do something for our country or state."
    Thanks again for your support and hope you really are able to start a movement on this. Everything is possible. Perseverance is needed.

  25. Dear AAB,
    I agree with comments from MONA, these AUTO Driver crossing their limits for asking so much for short distance. And, if there is no Auto or Bus stand then God help us. Our BGM R.T.O. is good for nothing this issue must be brought in public through all local news papers so that some thing should come on desk & prompt action should be taken my concern govt. depts.

    Solution: Either govt. should provide BUS facilities in such areas or AUTO meter should start.



  26. should file an information query with rto as what action has been taken to implement the meters in arkwashs

  27. write to the transport minister and the chief minister… and await their action.

    AAB should forward the case to all relevant authorities and the CM's office.

    Perhaps form a BELGAUM ACTION FORUM / COMMITTEE (no politics here) for monitoring improvement of belgaum infrastructure and other issues concerning common public.

    • The Last post(Who will bell ) was forwarded to CM, Transport secretary but has anything happened nothing. We have tried


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