Auto unions are up in arms against the Regional Transport Office (RTO) for cancelling permits of rickshaws that are operating for 20 years or more in the city. With over 10,000 autos to be affected, the auto unions want their issues addressed and will meet Pune District Collector Vikas Deshmukh, who is also the chairman of Regional Transport Authority.
RTO officials said they were only following the decision taken in the last meeting of the authority. “It was clearly stated that they should scrap permits of autorickshaws that were 20 years old whether they are on petrol or on CNG,” said a senior official from RTO. “The process has been initiated accordingly and permits are being checked,” he added.
The auto unions are, however, arguing that HC had issued different directives in 2004. The HC directives issued on March 3, 2004, state that all vehicles that have been converted to run on CNG/LPG should be phased out eight years after the date of conversion.
“The directives clearly state that once the autos are converted to CNG or LPG they will not be scrapped for the next eight years. So if an auto has running for the last 19 years and it has been converted to CNG, it has to be given an eight-year extension. RTA needs to follow the HC guidelines,” said an auto union member. According to the union, all other cities are following the HC directives, unlike Pune that is going by the RTA decision.
“With CNG being an environment-friendly fuel, the HC had made an exception and the RTO is not following it,” said a member of the Auto Rickshaw Federation.
Managing committee member of the All India Motor Transport Association Baba Shinde said there was a lack of communication between the state government and the RTO. “After the HC directives, the state had issued a government resolution, but the RTO does not seem to have received it. The district collector can take cognisance of this issue and take a decision,” said Shinde.