Having missed the opportunity to apply for an autorickshaw permit 18 years ago, Shiv Shankar Mishra, 50, was ecstatic at the prospect of earning a living on his own terms after wining a permit through the transport department’s first computer-based lottery Wednesday.
The lottery system for distribution of autorickshaw permits was conducted for the first time Wednesday, starting at the Andheri Regional Transport Office (RTO) from 1 pm. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan announced the first two winners from Aurangabad and Nagpur while inaugurating the lottery at 9 am.
A total of 69,000 people across Maharashtra were selected through the lottery, of whom 33,000 were from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Mishra was among the 20,931 people who won autorickshaw permits in Mumbai.
Though the winners’ list from Mumbai west (MH02) RTO was generated at 1.29 pm, it was only after 3 pm that Mishra, a resident of Khar, learned he had won. He had reached Goregaonkar English School, where a big screen had been put up by the Andheri RTO for shortlisted candidates. However, as Mishra’s name was not immediately visible in the list, he asked his son to check the result online.
Fluent in Hindi, English, Marathi and Gujarati, Mishra said, “I missed the opportunity back in 1996 to own a permit. However, this time, when I read about the lottery system in newspapers, I decided to try my luck.”
A native of Allahabad, Mishra came to Mumbai 20 years ago in search of a job. He soon started driving rented autorickshaws to educate his three children; two daughters and a son. Unable to meet family expenses, Mishra, a graduate from Gorakhpur University, gave up driving autorickshaws to take up a job as an office boy in a private company in 1996; when autorickshaw permits were issued for the last time in Mumbai. He started driving autos again in 1998.
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“My daughter-in-law called me and told me that my application was selected. Having won an auto permit, I will finally be able to work on my own terms,” Mishra said.
Mishra’s son is a chartered accountant, his younger daughter is a graduate and the elder daughter is a post-graduate.
Unlike Mishra, who had to wait for at least an hour before he was informed about his win, 32-year-old Goregaon autorickshaw driver Devendra S Nadar spotted his name on the screen at Goregaonkar English School.
“I could not believe my eyes when I read it. I thought I misread the name. However, when the officer read out the name I was thrilled,” said Nadar, who is educated till Class 9.
“Until now, I have only been able to earn enough to eat two meals a day. With my own permit now, I can save and start a family of my own. I am a free man and I do not have to do shifts. I can also help my family whenever required,” said the bachelor, who has been an autorickshaw driver for the past nine years.
While his family hails from Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu, Nadar was born and brought up in Mumbai and knows Marathi, fulfilling the requirements for availing new permits.
Winners will now have to submit documents for verification from March 1 to respective RTOs to get the permits, said transport officers. Waitlisted candidates will have to wait for a month for their turn.