Auto unions are up in arms against the Regional Transport Office (RTO) for cancelling permits of rickshaws that are operating for twenty years or more in the city. With over 10,000 autos to be affected, the auto unions want their issues addressed and will be meeting the Pune District Collector Vikas Deshmukh who is also the Regional Transport Authority chairman.
RTO officials when contacted maintained that they were following the decision of the Regional Transport Authority. “We are only following the decision that was taken in the last meeting of the RTA. 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.
While the auto unions are arguing that HC has issued different directives in 2004. The HC directives issued on March 3, 2004 state that all vehicles which have been converted to run on CNG/LPG should be phased out eight years from 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 is running for the last 19 years and it has been converted to CNG it has to given an eight year extension. RTA needs to follow the HC guidelines,”state auto union members. They also state that all other cities are following the directives and only Pune is following the RTA meeting directives.
“With CNG being an environment friendly fuel the HC had made an exception and RTO is not following it,”said aa member of the Auto Rickshaw Federation. While managing committee member of the All India Motor Transport Association Baba Shinde said that there was a lack of communication between the state government and RTO. After the HC directives the state issued a government resolution but RTO does not seem to have received the same. The District Collector can take cognizance of this issue and take a decision on the same,”said Shinde.