MBB Airport: Sushanta seeks Scindia’s intervention for waiver of service charges for auto-rickshaw

By Our Correspondent

Agartala, November 20, 2023

Transport Minister Sushanta Chowdhury today wrote Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia seeking his intervention to waive off the services charges imposed on pre-paid auto-rickshaw service from MBB airport Agartala. The Minister underscoring the financial conditions of the auto-rickshaw drivers stated that charging Rs 30 for entering the airport is unjustifiable.

“In response to our letter mentioned above you stated that the prepaid taxi service charges are fixed based on the category of the airport which in turns depends upon footfall at the airport MBB Airport, Agartala is a Group C category Airport, ie the passenger traffic at MBB Airport is between 1 million to 2 million passengers per annum. Hence, the rates per trip for prepaid taxi service is Rs.30/-. Besides, I would like to highlight before you about the movement status of vehicles those are driven from MBB Airport to various nearby areas. It is to inform you that from MBB Airport commercial four wheelers' Taxis do not run till date as per official records. The major portion of vehicles running from our MBB Airport are 3(three) wheelers auto rickshaw”, the Minister wrote giving a detailed overview of the situation.

Describing how the MBB airport in Agartala is different than the airports in other metropolitan cities, the Minister further added: “Airport Authority of India has categorised MBB Airport as a Group-C category airport but in real aspect MBB Airport as compare to other metropolitan cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai etc lies in a small city whose area is also small. Here the prepaid auto rickshaws ply only within 10 to 15 Km radius covering very short distances and the number of auto rickshaws is higher compare to number of air passengers. The income of auto rickshaw owners is also very less compared to other big cities. They only get 3-4 trips per day and daily carnings come around Rs 400 to Rs 500 per auto”.Advocating the interest of Auto-rickshaw drivers, the Minister urged the Union Minister to completely waive off the services charges imposed on the auto-rickshaw drivers.

“Therefore, it is not possible for the Auto Rickshaw drivers to sustain their livelihood after paying high rate of service charge levied by Airport Authority of India (AAI) The Director of MBB Airport, AAI was also requested to take up the matter with appropriate authority of AAI for completely waiving off the services for greater interest of the State, AAI and air passengers as there is no policy to levy service charges from prepaid auto rickshaw. It is pertinent to mentioned here that the State Government of Tripura, considering the greater interest of auto rickshaw, has completely waive off Rs.10 which was levied by Transport Department, Government of Tripura because it has been reported to us that the rates of availing auto rickshaw per day by passengers is very low”, he added.He, however, maintained that the AAI could charges Rs 30 as the service charge from the pre-paid taxi service soon going to be launched from the MBB airport.

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