All e-rickshaws plying in Delhi were rendered illegal by a notification issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) on April 24, in which the ministry has amended certain rules in the Motor Vehicles’ Act.
The Transport department has already started impounding e-rickshaws across the capital and Traffic Police is expected to take action against these vehicles soon.
“We are going to issue a public notice clarifying that e-rickshaws are illegal. At our end, we have already begun impounding e-rickshaws in the city since last Sunday,’’ an official said. Around 100 e-rickshaws have been impounded by transport department till date.
According to earlier rules, three-wheeler vehicles, with motor power of less than 250W and speed less than 25kmph, were regarded as non-motorised vehicles. Such vehicles need not be registered with the Transport department. But according to the changed rules, “… a two-wheeler battery operated vehicle shall not be deemed to be a motor vehicle….’’ This amendment withdraws the exemption provided to three-wheeler battery-operated vehicles.
The Transport department has started impounding e-rickshaws in accordance with decisions taken during a meeting taken in Chief Secretary’s office on April 15. Any e-rickshaw, which does not have type approval or requisite certification, will not be allowed to ply after June 6. While there are no official data, it is estimated that one lakh e-rickshaws are operating in the capital at present. In an attempt to regulate e-rickshaws, the Transport department had earlier passed orders asking all e-rickshaw operators to get their vehicle type approved from a recognised government institute and register them under the Motor Vehicles’ Act within three months.
However, in the meeting chaired by the Chief Secretary in April, it was decided that sale of e-rickshaws should be stopped and immediate action should be taken against manufacturers, suppliers and dealers of e-rickshaws.
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Special Commissioner of police (Traffic) Muktesh Chander said, “A notification stating that all e-rickshaws be put under the category of motor vehicles was issued. Our job is just to enforce. The moment the Transport department puts out a notice for e-rickshaws to go off the roads, we shall act against them.”
Over 300 representatives of e-rickshaw unions met Lt-Governor Najeeb Jung and Transport department officials. The clampdown on e-rickshaws will especially affect students and visitors to Delhi University as these vehicles are widely used here. Gurmeet Singh from Khalsa Battery-Operated Rickshaw Union, said: “We don’t know what to do. We are in a fix as there is no government in the state and we don’t know if the Centre would listen to our problems.’’