The clampdown on e-rickshaws in the capital, after they were rendered illegal by a notification issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) on April 24, has triggered a spot of politicking.
Now, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari is scheduled to address a “maha rally” organised by e-rickshaw associations on Tuesday to protest against the “Delhi government’s action against these battery-operated vehicles”.
BJP MPs and corporation councillors are also expected to attend the rally which will be held at Ramlila Maidan.
“The amendment of certain rules in the Motor Vehicles Act, which essentially made all e-rickshaws illegal, was passed before Gadkari took over as Union Transport Minister. He too supports our cause and will be participating in this rally along with other BJP MPs,’’ Jai Bhagwan Goyal of the Battery Rickshaw Sangh said.
According to sources, Gadkari is looking at providing relief to e-rickshaw operators. As per the earlier rules, three-wheeler vehicles with motor power less than 250W and speed less than 25kmph were regarded as non-motorised vehicles. But the amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act withdraws this exemption.
“The Centre is now planning to allow vehicles with motor power till 650W. But the new rules will ensure that the owner of the e-rickshaw is also the driver of the vehicle and that it is not rented out,’’ a source in the Transport Ministry said.
Offices of MPs Udit Raj and Meenakshi Lekhi confirmed that they would be participating in the rally.”We are expecting North Municipal Corporation mayor Yogender Chandolia to be present at the rally. We are facing a lot of harassment at the hands of traffic police and transport officials. We want some relief,’’ Gurmeet Singh of the Khalsa Battery Operated Rickshaw Union said.
The Transport department had started impounding e-rickshaws across the city. “The department has to issue a notification before traffic police can take action. The notification has been sent to the L-G’s office for approval,’’ an official said.
Kejriwal asks jung to end action against e-rickshaws
Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal on Monday met Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung and requested that impounding and penalising of e-rickshaws in the capital be stopped until a case on their future runs its course in the Delhi High Court. Kejriwal also wrote to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and asked him to pass an order to end the clampdown on e-rickshaws. In his letter to Gadkari, Kejriwal said, “The High Court had asked the government to form a policy for e-rickshaws. At that time, there was a Congress government, which passed a notification on April 24 making e-rickshaws illegal. This is incorrect and if you pass a notification asking for penalties and impounding to stop, then the daily income of lakhs of people will be saved.” Speaking to a gathering of e-rickshaw drivers, Kejriwal said, “I also told the L-G that if these jobs are taken away, people might turn to other things like crime. The High Court never wanted a ban on these e-rickshaws, only a clear policy.”