By: Aranya Shankar
Transport Minister Gopal Rai held a public hearing on Wednesday at the Transport Authority’s office in Burari to address the grievances of autorickshaw, taxi, radio taxi, RTV, Gramin Sewa, DTC and e-rickshaw drivers.
Most of the 500-strong crowd demanded that the mandatory installation of GPS devices in vehicles be done away with, the compulsory requirement of Class VIII pass certificate at the time of renewal of commercial licence be done away with, and a canteen, toilet and enquiry counter be set up in the Burari office immediately.
Senior officials of the Transport department and Motor Licensing Officers (MLOs) of various regions in Delhi were present at the meeting.
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Rai said he would see to it that their issues are dealt with in a time-bound manner. At the end of the meeting, he declared that the Class VIII pass certificate would not be required anymore for those who wish to renew their commercial licence, and that all forms related to the Transport Authority would be available in Hindi. He also said that he would ensure that GPS is provided at cheaper rates (Rs 8,000-9,000) and by other companies other than DIMTS (Delhi Integrated Multi Modal System Ltd).
This announcement, however, did not draw much enthusiasm from the crowd. “We pay Rs 17,000-18,000 to buy these GPS devices. Additionally, we pay Rs 2,750 as annual service charge for which we get a receipt of only Rs 1,350. I’ve had to change my GPS four times in a year. For such a high cost, we find its efficiency questionable. GPS cannot stop rapes. Autos still get stolen and no one can find out where they have disappeared. We don’t want GPS in our vehicles,” Iqbal Singh, president of the Gramin Sewa Association, said. His views were echoed by many.
Inderjit Singh, a taxi union leader, also questioned the effectiveness of GPS. “It is very easy to cut the wire and disconnect the device. We don’t see how it is useful. Is there any evidence from any other state to suggest that it has helped in curbing harassment?” he said.
Drivers of commercial vehicles repeatedly pointed out the problem with asking for an Class VIII pass certificate at the time of renewal of licences. “It is absurd that when our licence is made, it is considered okay if we are uneducated. But, at the time of renewal they demand it from us,” a taxi driver.
The reporter is a student of EXIMS