KOLKATA: A ‘noble’ initiative by auto unions — providing free drops to the Madhyamik candidates — has allegedly become the latest excuse for several autos plying on two different routes to not complete their journey.

Passengers travelling on the Garia-Golpark auto route since Monday morning — the day Madhyamik started — have complained of autos refusing to ply beyond the Golpark roundabout, up to their designated stand around 100 metres ahead. Several of them are dropping passengers at either Jadavpur or Dhakuria. “We are being asked to take the Madhyamik examinees to their exam halls free of cost. Why should I incur loss by dropping these examinees? While my union can always give preferential treatment to such candidates, it makes no sense why I should be denied my fares,” questioned an auto driver.

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The scene is similar at Garia stand. Autos are allegedly not going beyond Patuli crossing. Instead, they are assembling at a point close to the 45 number bus stand. “When I boarded the auto from Jadavpur, he said he would drop me before the Garia roundabout. The driver also said I have to shell out usual fares telling me things will improve only after the Madhyamik. I believe this is just a tactic to run on the profitable curtailed route even in the morning,” said Anuradha Pal, an economic analyst.

Her co-passenger Priyanka Chowdhury recalled how she was asked to get off at the Jadavpur 8B bus stand last Wednesday.

The auto union, though, refused to accept the charges. “We have chosen five autos on a daily basis who are dropping students at the exam centres. That’s just five of the 100-odd autos on this route. The auto drivers coming up with such excuses are not registered on this route,” said a leader at the Golpark auto stand.

At Behala Chowrasta, one auto out of two autos got “reserved” for the examinees. “We can ensure that no candidate has to wait while boarding the auto. But there’s no logic why these autos will ply only till New Alipore and Chetla and not Rashbehari with regular passengers,” said Atin Banerjee, whose office is located at Rashbehari.



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