Transport Minister Sushanta Chowdhury has written a letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotir Aditya Scindia on Monday, urging a complete waiver of the Rs.30 service charges imposed on prepaid auto-rickshaws at MBB Airport.
In the letter, Minister Chowdhury explained that the service charges for prepaid taxi services are determined by the airport’s category, which, in turn, is contingent on the airport’s footfall. MBB Airport in Agartala falls under Group C category, indicating an annual passenger traffic ranging between 1 million to 2 million, resulting in a set rate of Rs.30 per trip for prepaid taxi services.
The letter highlights the current status of vehicle movement from MBB Airport to nearby areas. According to official records, commercial four-wheeler taxis have not been operational from MBB Airport.
Prepaid auto-rickshaws primarily operate within a 10 to 15 km radius, covering short distances, and their numbers surpass the air passenger count. Auto-rickshaw owners in this area face lower income, with only 3-4 trips per day, resulting in daily earnings of around Rs. 400-500 per auto.
The Transport Minister has urged the AAI Director to pursue the matter with the appropriate authority of AAI, seeking a complete waiver of service charges for the benefit of the state, AAI, and air passengers.
Notably, the State Government of Tripura has already waived the Rs. 10 charge imposed by the Transport Department, considering the low daily usage of auto-rickshaws by passengers, estimated at around 20 to 30 passengers.
Minister Chowdhury also urged the central minister to exempt the service charge of Rs. 30 imposed by AAI on prepaid auto-rickshaws.