Finally, Tamil Nadu government has come out with an order to regulate the auto fares in Chennai and Tamil Nadu just 2 days before the Supreme Court deadline. It comes as a happy news for citizens of Chennai as auto rickshaws are integral part of Chennai transport. I am one of those happy hearts as I need to use autos few times every week.
But what was absolutely baffling is the way some took credit for these actions. Look at today's Times of India (TOI) headline.
You can read the full article by clicking the link below
They just claimed the credit for these changes. Yes, they did a campaign and it created awareness in people but did this action happen because of the campaign. There are other campaigns happened too, remember Meterpodu or Prahalathan (who created an online petition) or the recently launched Namma Auto, that's trying to create an organised Auto Rickshaw hiring company like the call taxi business. Everyone did their bit, but this particular order that forced Tamil Nadu government was got by a man called SV Ramamurthy.
SV Ramamurthy is a lawyer from Chennai, who once saw an old lady struggling to find an auto for travelling to hospital. He started this case in 2010 against the Govt. of Tamilnadu. The Govt. was prolonging the case for too long and he filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court in January 2012. After 3 hearings (the Govt was trying to put it off), the Judge asked how he was commuting to Delhi for the case. SV Ramamurthy admitted that it was all his money and every time he had to travel for this case.
Judge got pissed at the Govt.'s callousness, mandated that it has to regulate the Auto Rickshaw fares within 4 weeks and also slapped a fine of Rs.10,000 on the Govt. After 3 deadlines and exactly 2 days before the last deadline, Govt. today has come up with the order for regulation. When the Auto Rickshaw union saw that Supreme Court has given an order, they took the streets for regulation too. They have been protesting to regulate fares for long..
There can be multiple people who were responsible for creating the awareness but this particular order was because of an effort from this man SV Ramamurthy. Surprisingly, no media talked about him except for Rediff (there might be Tamil Media that could have highlighted him). Here is the link for Rediff article from August 02, 2013.
Dear Times of India, we are happy that you care about our city and you did that campaign, wrote 50 articles on it. We agree. There are other people who did that too. But please give that humble lawyer some credit. He took it to the court. Thanks to the Judge who ordered and mandated the government. We would not have got that order if he hadn't took those trips to Supreme Court. This is a victory of our judicial system more than anything else. And, please, my friends in Social Media, give the right people right credit.
PS: And, let's hope this fare regulation is strictly enforced in the city. It will be one of the best things that can happen to city of Chennai.