Millennium Post

E-rickshaws to be back soon: Govt approves changes in law

With Delhi assembly polls round the corner, the BJP government at the Centre has simplified the norms for driving licences to e-rickshaw drivers. This is a big step on part of the Modi Cabinet to woo lower middle class sections of Delhi within the BJP fold as dependents on e-rickshaws are considered to be ‘staunch’ supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). With the approval of relaxation in norms for e-rickshaw drivers, the Union government has paved the way for these battery-operated vehicles to ply on the roads of Delhi, which were banned by the High Court over safety concerns.

“The norms have been relaxed for issuing licences for e-rickshaw drivers. The provision that no person shall be granted a learner’s licence to drive a commercial vehicle unless he or she has held a driving licence for light motor vehicle for at least one year has been waived,” a source said after the Cabinet meeting here. E-rickshaws are a legal entity and any driver passing the driving test would now be granted a licence, he added.

The government in October had notified the rules for plying of e-rickshaws making driver’s licence mandatory for operating them and limiting the maximum speed to 25 km per hour. The government had notified the Central Motor Vehicles (Sixteenth Amendment) Rules, 2014, which paves the way for plying of “special purpose battery operated vehicles”.

The new guidelines provide that e-rickshaws will be allowed to carry four passengers and 40 kg luggage while e-carts would transport goods up to 310 kg. Notably, the Delhi High Court had on July 31 banned plying of e-rickshaws on the roads of the national Capital saying “prima facie they are a hazard to other traffic as well as citizens”.

The rules define e-rickshaws as a special purpose battery operated vehicle “having three wheels and intended to provide last mile connectivity for transport of passengers for hire or reward”.
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