Saturday, August 09, 2008

The unwelcoming Delhi

Commonwealth Games are just a couple of years ahead. But is Delhi ready to play the good host when, everyday, new arrivals to the national capital get an unsavory welcome by overcharging auto rickshaw and taxi operators..

IF YOU land up in Delhi from outside by train, the autos and taxis of Delhi may have unwelcoming surprise for you and for some it could be a nightmare. This happens to not only the one who is ‘not a Delhiites’ but with everyone. Delhiites have got used to it and can navigate with them and bargain. For a non-Delhiites, it could end up scaring them for a lifetime.

For example, at Nizamuddin railway station, one of the main railway stations of Delhi, there is no pre-paid service available for hiring taxi, which in effect means that you are at the mercy of the private taxi operators. One will have to bargain on the astronomical rates quoted by them. And if you ain’t aware of the routes, you are the one who may get ‘robbed’, a robbery for which you even cannot complain. This is not rare but a routine occurrence. For a taxi fare of Rs 100 by meter, you can end up paying something between three hundred to five hundred, that too if you are lucky. Pre-paid for auto rickshaw is available but that too for namesake. You can buy a pre-paid ticket but may not get an auto. But in case you are willing to pay their desired rate, which is more than double the normal fare, only then will they agree to move. Alternatively, in case you allow them to get one or two more unknown extra passengers on-board on the same auto then they may agree on your pre-paid price. Worst is - even if you complain to police personnel manning the pre-paid booths, they hardly listen except if you are real vociferous and can shout and make them hear.

Though there is a complaint number ‘painted’ on each auto but it is only for namesake. No one picks up the number, especially in the early morning and late night. This is the reality of the national capital of India - New Delhi, which is planning to host the prestigious commonwealth games in year 2010!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very true. I went to Delhi in August after a few years, and did not know that the pre-paid auto stand has shifted. A lone auto took me to Mayur Vihar Phase I for Rs 150, which I later found was more than twice the right fare. I blame poor signposting in the station and total police apathy. In fact, New Delhi is one of the worst maintained stations in India. Howrah and Chennai stations are way better.