It is all clear for e-rickshaws on Delhi’s roads. Even as the Centre has expedited the arrival of e-rickshaws in the capital, the issue of licencing of drivers is yet to be resolved. On Monday, however, Union Minister for Roads, Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, said the licencing problem too would be tackled within a month.
“Just the issue of licences remains. But we will sort it out within a month by making changes in the law. This will benefit the majority of SC, ST, OBC members and the minority communities who make a living by pulling the weight of other men — nothing short of exploitation. Loans up to 4 per cent will be given to buy e-rickshaws. I have spoken to the Minister for Minority Affairs too,” Gadkari said.
Gadkari said the drivers will own of the vehicle and sub-contracting won’t be permitted.
“Renting will only lead to exploitation of the poor, so we want to ensure that the drivers are the owners of the e-rickshaws. A provision has been made for certification of older e-rickshaws,” he said.
The Delhi High Court had banned e-rickshaws from plying on July 31 citing safety concerns.
Post the order, the matter became the stage for a political showdown between the BJP and the AAP, with both parties vying for the loyalty of the drivers. The AAP alleged that despite the BJP’s poll promises, “very little has been done to bring e-rickshaw drivers back to the streets”.
In a notification dated October 8, the Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways made the amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rule (1989) to accommodate e-rickshaws and address concerns of the court.
The e-rickshaws are mandated to carry four persons excluding the driver. Also, it cannot carry luggage of not more than 40 kg as the power of its motor does not exceeding 2000 watt and the maximum speed of the vehicle limited to 25 km per hour.
Drivers will need a commercial licence to drive the e-rickshaw. But the poor, who are likely to drive these vehicles, do not have a private license, let alone a commercial one, ministry officials said.