LAHORE The Lahore Transport Company has started a campaign on Monday against the six-seater CNG auto rickshaws at various city routes. The rickshaw drivers believe the company was hitting them just to favour the big transporters. These rickshaws were other than the qingqis whom the court had declared illegal. Commuters at large use these rickshaws on ordinary fare especially at Canal Road, from Thoker Niaz Beg to Mughalpura as the buses at the said route were not meeting the needs of the passengers. About 300 rickshaws were plying only at the Canal Road and 80pc among them were six seaters. The operation of three wheelers has already been halted from Kalma Chowk to Chowk Yatim Khana, where their use was also extraordinary. Normally six passengers travel through these three-wheelers by simply paying the fare charged by a bus at the route. Having 200cc power, the rickshaws are CNG/petrol operated and are considered environment friendly. But the LTC management believed that they were illegal and direct competitors of the public transport. The Companys authorities held that in presence of these rickshaws at a route, transporters showed their unwillingness to operate the buses between the destinations. We cannot allow six-seater at any route because they are illegal and the owners are using them by picking stop-to-stop passengers, said the LTC Senior Manager Operation Tanveer Siddiqui. He said the Company had directed the auto-makers to stop further production of these kinds of rickshaws. If the auto-makers had not stopped their production, he held, the LTC would take stern action against them. Similarly, he asserted, the already in-operation rickshaws were not allowed like buses and vans. On the other side, the rickshaw drivers said that there should be free market spirit. We are using these rickshaws since last two-years and providing relief to the commuters in a situation when there were severe scarcity of buses at every route, said a three-wheeler owner Nawaz. He plied his rickshaw at Canal Road. According to him, he earned Rs 500 to Rs 700 in a day. The rickshaw owners were of the view that they were not asked to stop their vehicles at any route but when a transport company brought its buses at a route then the authorities started threatening them only to facilitate the powerful transport companies. For years, I had to travel by a bus for moving from Thoker Niaz Beg to Jail Road when I returned from work. That was quite a trouble and I got late on every day. Now that has changed, thanks to the six seater rickshaws, I use six-seater since last six months.