VADODARA: As it dawns in the city, there is tranquility in most areas including the commercial hubs. But a walk around the railway station premises even in early morning and peak hours later can get on to anyone’s nerves.

Hundreds of auto rickshaws buzz around the area and scramble to pick up passengers by offering a good bargain.

The autos, parked haphazardly, drive right up to the passengers, take sudden turns and sometimes even the block the railway station exit, leading to complete chaos.

And this scene repeats itself during the peak hours daily.

Wary of the traffic menace caused by the autos, the police department has finally started cracking down on the errant drivers. The cops have started a drive to penalize those driving autos without proper permissions and license. The prime focus is on the areas around the railway station as most auto drivers flock this spot to get long distance passengers.

“We have begun detaining the auto rickshaws whose drivers don’t have proper permissions to drive auto. They have to pay penalty to regional transport office (RTO). The idea is to tackle the traffic issues caused by the autos in busy areas,” said Manoj Sashidhar, police commissioner.

The autos block a major portion of the road outside the railway station and even the narrow Sayajigunj underpass. And with little public transport facilities available from the station area, most passengers prefer autos which further adds to the chaos. The traffic police posted there makes efforts to keep the roads clear but they are unable to tackle the auto menace.

The Faramji Compound road on the backside of the railway station too witnesses the same clutter as autos choke the narrow road.

For the record, the city has about 25,000 autos that run with permit but many more operate illegally as well.

Unemployment and absence of good public transport has led to spurt in the number of autos over last couple of decades.

“Barricades have been put up near the Sayajigunj underpass and opposite the local bus depot so that the auto drivers don’t crowd the road and disturb the traffic flow,” said S D Rathod, traffic ACP.

“Auto drivers breaking traffic rules too are being penalized to instill a sense of driving discipline,” the police said.

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