Answer by Shankar Muthuvel:
Yes they overcharge. I was charged Rs. 1700 for about 15KM.
But we cannot wholly blame auto drivers. How do I know this ? Because I had a conversation with all these people.
Me: Anna, why do you charge so much ? Don't you have conscience ?
Auto Driver: I have conscience, that same conscience is telling me to feed my family.
Me: Do you need in thousands to feed your family ? We just need Rs. 30 per person per day ( mockingly ) that's what the government says. 🙂
Auto Driver: Smiles – Those are at normal times.
Me: Furious by his comment – Are you justifying your actions ?
Auto Driver: As I said I have to feed my family that's my conscience. Why do I over charge, because I have to overpay.
Me: what ? Could you elaborate
Auto Driver: Yes! I have a 2 yr old kid and do you know how much a packet of milk costs now ?
Me: Should be Rs. 40.
Auto Drivers: Smiles and says, its Rs. 150
Me: what ? Remembering my earlier encounter in a department store.
Me: Anna give me idly batter.
Store guy: Gives me and says it costs Rs. 78.
Me: It says MRP is Rs. 38.
Store guys: There are many people ready to buy.
Me: Turns to find a crowd of people fighting to buy last few packets of idly batter left in the only open department store in 4KM radius. I pay him Rs.78 and ask him don't you have any conscience ?
Store guy: You should ask this question to that guy – points to a truck driver. I am selling it for the same Rs.2 profit. I bought this at Rs. 76.
Me: Anna why do charge more than MRP for every product.
Driver: Points at the knee height water we were standing in, this area has least level of water, but we have drive through worst conditions.
Me: But you cannot blindly justify yourself like this.
Driver: No you don't understand, our vehicle has to drive through contaminated water, which enters into our engines and spoils it. We have to spend money on it. And also we have to go out of the city to fill our fuel tanks.
Me: what ? Why do you have to travel so much for fuel ? There is a petrol bunk in every nook and corner of the city.
Driver: They all are closed.
Me: hmmmm… Making a mental note to visit a petrol bunk.
Me: Anna why are you closed ? Dont you have any fuel ?
Petrol guy: We do have fuel but it is all contaminated by water – pointing towards knee height water.
Me: Don't you have any measure against these kind of natural calamities ?
Petrol guy: The government doesn't ….
I asked a relative, who works for PWD.
Me: Uncle, why didn't the government plan for this flood ?
Uncle: They did, but they didn't expect this worst situation. Also the water has no place to go – even to reach the sea.
Me: Why can't water reach the sea ?
Uncle: Because we have been building houses in their path to the sea. There are many area working as dams blocking the water.
You may ask why build houses on water areas ?
Me: Nodding my head in approval.
Uncle: Because we ran out of space and growing demand in real estate in the city. There are other real estate problems because of the demands.
Uncle: Now for example – if I were to sell you an apartment for 50lacs and I give 2 options,
Option 1: 2bhk apartment 1000sqft.
Option 2: 2bhk apartment 1000sqft and a lake view.
Me: obviously option 2.
Uncle: Smiles – what happens when it rains continuously ? The lake floods to your apartment and it has no place to go………
Now do you see where the whole problem leads to ? It leads to us.