Pune: While the railway administration is still working on a policy to discourage vehicles from halting in the narrow lane in front of the main Pune station building by imposing a fine on those overstaying, the parking contractors are one step ahead and have already started charging private cab drivers, albeit illegally.
Cab drivers at the pick-and-drop points of Pune railway station are complaining that they are being harassed as the parking contractor charges them Rs 30 for waiting 10 minutes in the railway premises - a move that is still to be finalised by the administration.
Several cab drivers approached Sakal Times complaining that they are being charged while exiting the gate. The railway authority has already given a parking place to Ola and Uber cabs to pick up passengers. Raju Gaikwad, a cab driver, told Sakal Times, “Most of the drivers are paying from their own pocket. We can’t even ask the passenger to pay for us, as they have booked the cab through the app.”
Another cab driver, Sachin Patole, said, “The parking contractors are charging us since mid-April. When we enter, we are not given any parking slip mentioning the time of entry or charges, but while exiting, they charge us.” Patole said this is happening mostly at night or early morning, when flow of passengers is high and cab drivers are not able to reach the authority to complain about the unauthorised practice.
An official of Pune railway division said, “The policy is not yet implemented. The parking contractor cannot charge as they have not been given permission to do so. This is an illegal practice. The issue will be raised with the Divisional Railway Manager and action will be taken accordingly.”
SIMILAR POLICY AT AIRPORT A FAILURE
A similar policy was effected by Lohegaon Airport administration in 2016 where four-wheelers spending more than seven minutes at the pick-and-drop points were fined Rs 85. The plan, however, had to be revoked after passengers approached Union Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha, alleging that it was an unjust practice. Sinha directed the Airports Authority of India to scrap the policy.
During the implementation at the Pune airport, the passengers and cab drivers were also complaining that the parking contractor at the airport is charging them forcefully.