Maharashtra: Snubbed RTI activist outs illegal taxi stand
As reported by Akela in mid-day.com on 25 August 2011:
Snubbed RTI activist outs illegal taxi stand
Refused twice by a so-called share taxi stand at Kurla, and asked for exorbitant fare, social worker sought RTI reply only to find that the stand was illegal
After cabbies at a taxi stand in Kurla refused to ferry him, a social worker exposed the stand to be illegal using the RTI Act.
Last month, 45-year-old Vijay Manthena, a resident of Hariyanawala Mansion in Kurla (West) approached the taxi drivers on two occasions and asked to be taken to a Vakola hospital, to meet an ailing aunt.
RTI activist Vijay Manthena has demanded action
against the drivers under the MRTP Act
Rudely dismissed both times, Manthena filed an application with the local RTO, only to find that the taxi stand was illegal. He has now sought action against the taxi drivers running the stand.
On the first occasion, he stopped a taxi near Sansar hotel, Kurla (West).
The driver refused, saying that he only plies for passengers on their way to Andheri, and only on a sharing basis. He added that for going to Vakola, Manthena should pay Rs 300, half of which would be return fare.
Manthena, then, caught a bus to Vakola. Three days later, he went to the same stand. This time, four taxi drivers refused to go to Vakola by the meter.
As Manthena argued with them, other taxi drivers gathered around him, and showed him a board on the roadside that proclaimed the stand as belonging to share taxis.
This time, Manthena approached the Kurla police. But a policeman told him that the taxi drivers were not in the wrong, as they had a board declaring them to be share taxis.
"Tumko board nahi dikhta kya? Agar Vakola jana hai to Rs 300 dena padega, Rs 150 jane ka aur Rs 150 return aane ka, wapas aao ya nahi," one of the drivers allegedly said to him.
Manthena then filed an RTI query to the RTO about the stand.
In its reply (copy available with MiD DAY), the RTO said it had not given any permission for a share taxi stand near Sansar hotel in Kurla.
The alleged illegal taxi stand at Kurla where the 45-year-old man was refused by cabs on two occasions. The first time, he was refused a cab at Kurla (West) where the cab driver told him that he only ferried passengers to Andheri
It went on to say that it can take action against an illegal taxi stand under Section 22 (D) R /W 178 of the Motor Vehicles Act.
Manthena has complained to the civic body, demanding action against the drivers under the MRTP Act. "The policemen take bribes from the taxi drivers. The RTO should take action against them as well," he said.
The Other Side
MiD DAY tried to contact the taxi unions' leader, AL Quadros, but despite repeated attempts, he did not answer our call. A BMC officer said, "I am busy.
Call me another day." Said Transport Secretary SK Sharma, "For public convenience and to avoid traffic problems, the RTO has permitted some share taxi/auto stands in the city.
But I am unaware of their exact location. I am also unaware of the Kurla incident."