New Delhi: Ignoring several complaints about the current permit system by auto rickshaw drivers in Noida, the Transport Department has asked the auto drivers with permits issued in other districts like Hapur, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Kasna and Dadri not to illegally ply in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

Himesh Tiwari, Assistant Regional Transport Officer (Enforcement), told The Sunday Guardian, “The process of impounding auto rickshaws registered elsewhere cannot change the prevailing situation overnight. Many autos have been detained and drivers have been told why they are not being allowed to carry passengers in other areas. Auto rickshaws registered under one centre can commute within a radius of 16 kilometers. Those who are not cooperating, their vehicles will be towed away.”

Sonu Kumar, an auto driver with city permit, said that the police harass auto drivers with proper documents. “We went on a four-hour strike at the Transport Department’s office as auto rickshaws with requisite licences and documents were also being towed away. We went to the Gautam Budh Nagar police station where we were told that vehicles with proper documents will be released with a penalty of Rs 5,000.”

Another auto driver said, “For autos coming from outside, including RTO codes UP-13 (Bulandshahr), UP-14 (Ghaziabad) or UP-37 (Hapur), this drive is justified. But auto rickshaws with NCR permits should be allowed in the city.”

An auto driver near Noida Sector 45 said, “I have been driving here for the past 10 years now under Dadri permit. There was no challan on my permit before. Though we showed them licence, fitness certificates and other documents, thousands of autos were seized in just two weeks. Where will we go?”

However, in order to avoid confusion, auto drivers have requested the Transport Department to issue a single permit to ply in the entire district.

Om Prakash Gujjar, president of the Gautam Budh Nagar auto union, said that it is not possible for passengers to change several autos to reach a destination. “Are we supposed to refuse passengers if they ask us to go a few kilometers ahead of our permit area? Just like Delhi, we want a single permit system here,” Gujjar added.

Asked about passengers’ plight, Tiwari said, “Due to freeze in Noida permits in 2015, issuance of new permits was stopped. However, there are a number of auto rickshaws which will be permitted to ply across the entire NCR. Hence, passengers will not have to bear the brunt of this exercise.”