Removing legal hurdles in the way of running of electric rickshaws as last mile connectivity, the Transport Ministry has exempted such vehicles from requiring permits for plying on roads.
Obtaining permits for operating in states were proving to be the biggest obstacle for e-carts and e-rickshaws, a senior Road Transport and Highways Ministry official said, adding that they can now operate pan-India, hassle free.
However, the state governments may impose restrictions under appropriate traffic laws on plying of these vehicles in specific areas or specific routes.
"The Central government hereby orders that the provisions of sub section I of section 66 of the said Act (Motor Vehicles Act, 1988) shall not apply to any transport vehicle of the category e-cart and e-rickshaw...for the purpose of carriage of goods and passengers with their personal luggage," according to a notification issued on Tuesday.
This sub section requires that "no owner of a motor vehicle shall use or permit the use of the vehicle as a transport vehicle in any public place whether or not such vehicle is actually carrying any passenger or goods save in accordance with the conditions of a permit granted or countersigned by a Regional or State Transport Authority."
The Ministry has already set guidelines for e-rickshaws and allowed them to operate under the Act. However, many states were not following the guidelines earlier but with the notification, e-rickshaws can ply freely now, the official said.
The government has already issued guidelines for e-rickshaws, including speed limit, carrying capacity and body specifications.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways earlier had notified rules under the Act to bring e-rickshaws and e-carts within the legal framework, ensuring tests for approval of prototype for safety standards before registration of the vehicles.
As per the notification, e-rickshaws have been allowed to carry four passengers and 40 kg luggage while e-carts would transport goods up to 310 kg.
The rules define e-rickshaw 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'.
These vehicles are constructed to carry not more than four passengers, excluding the driver and the net power of its motor is not more than 2000 Watts and the maximum speed of the vehicle is not more than 25 kilometres per hour.