By Kartik Kumar
DAYS after serving an ultimatum to web-based taxi services to register under its radio taxi scheme, the Transport Department has realised that it doesn’t have the means to enforce its order and has asked the Chandigarh traffic police to stop operators who violate it.
Transport Secretary Bhawna Garg held a meeting with the traffic police officials on Monday and sought their intervention.”The staff strength of the State Transport Authority is not sufficient for intercepting cabs which are not registered with the UT administration. In January, when the ban was first imposed, the unauthorised cabs kept running. Even now, some of the cab services are releasing promotional offers via advertisements. Therefore, to ensure that there is greater enforcement, we have requested for the traffic police’s assistance,” Garg said.
Pawan Kumar, DSP (traffic administration), however, said that the traffic police would have a limited role in the matter: “We cannot intercept every web-based taxi and check for its license. Only those web-based taxis which are violating traffic rules will be checked and challaned or impounded.”
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Since last Friday, the motor-vehicle inspectors of STA have challaned 58 and impounded 19 taxis for operarting without registration. In December last year, the MHA had directed the state governments and union territories to ban all web-based radio taxis, following the rape of a woman by the driver of an Uber taxi in New Delhi.
Last week, the UT administration gave the web-based radio taxis operators two days to register under the existing radio taxi scheme or face action. The deadline for compliance passed on Friday.
The web-based taxis are not registered under the radio taxi scheme. In fact, the scheme has no provision for web-based taxis. These operate under the all-India tourist permit which, according to the Motor Vehicles Act, permits cabs to ply for inter-state use only and not within a city.
The administration had decided to amend its radio taxi scheme to allow for operation of web-based taxis, with suitable safeguards. Asked about it, the Transport Secretary said their first priority was to make sure that cab operators complied with the existing scheme and the amended scheme would be issued later.