Mangaluru, Aug 5,2017: Regional transport authority (RTA) has placed the issue of setting up a pre-paid auto kiosk at Mangaluru junction railway station in the realm of city police chief. While the issue figured at the RTA meeting that DK DC Dr K G Jagadeesha, also chairman of RTA, chaired recently no final decision was taken. After the meeting, the RTA has decided to take the opinion of T R Suresh, city police commissioner, on the issue.
Incidentally, the issue of setting up the kiosk figured at the monthly SC/ST meeting that Mangaluru City Police held on July 30, Sunday and at the RTA meeting the next day with participants demanding that authorities take action to set up the kiosk at the earliest. The persistent demands on part of citizens only underscores the urgent need for such a facility at this station which forms the critical hub for passengers travelling up north on Konkan railway route or going down south.
Issue delaying setting up the kiosk was the question of who could control its operations. At a meeting on the same issue that Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel convened on July 6, Hanumanth Kamath, president, Nagarika Hitharakshana Vedike, had suggested that maintenance of pre-paid auto counters at both Mangaluru Central and junction railway stations be handed over to police. This would prevent auto drivers from fleecing commuters, he had said.
Senior officials of Palakkad division of Southern Railway at the same meeting had categorically pointed that functioning of auto rickshaw pre-paid counters at the railway stations is not possible without the presence of policemen. The moot point that Mangaluru city police top brass faces on this vital issue is whether the responsibility should be vested with its traffic sub-division or south sub-division under whose jurisdiction both these railway stations come.
Assistant commissioner of police (traffic) K Tilakchandra concurred with views that officials from Palakkad division expressed on need for police presence at these booths.
"Section of autorickshaw drivers are averse to adhering to the spirit behind these pre-paid counters and place irritants in its smooth functioning and often end up gaining the upper hand. Presence of police will ensure that there is a level playing field for both commuters and the auto drivers," he opined