Paving a way for existing E-rickshaws to return on Delhi roads, Lok sabha has passed the bill to legalise E-rickshaws in Delhi by bringing them under the ambit of Motor Vehicles Act. The drivers of these battery-operated vehicles will also be provided with licenses and govt. has promised to incorporate member suggested rules, once it becomes a law.
These rickshaws were banned after the death of a three year old kid, slipped into a pot of boiling sugar syrup when the three-wheeler struck his mother and threw her off-balance outside a street-side sweet shop in east Delhi. Apart from the problems faced and the accidents, the bill to bring back e-rickshaws has been passed in Lok sabha.
Several amendments and rules were kept forward about the continuation of vehicle by the transport ministry that it will not carry more than 4 passengers including driver, more than 40kg luggage is not allowed. The power of electric motor should not be more than 2000 watts, the maximum speed of vehicle should be less than 25km per hour and the driver is bound to have license.
The act of Lok sabha passing the bill raises many questions about the transport minister Nitin Gadkari, depicting his relations with Purti Green Technologies, one of the seven companies that were granted licenses by the state-run Council for Scientific and Industrial Research CSIR to produce e-rickshaws and moreover hurrying the action because of nearby elections. The minister denied the allegations of bill being passed early due to elections or any commercial relations with Purti Green Technologies saying that the early passage of the bill will be a boon for one crore poor people who face a lot of health problems by plying cycle rickshaws manually.
Gadkari also stated that all the safety measure, including the standardisation of the design of e-rickshaw have been addressed in the bill, he further added saying that the govt. has decided to provide low interest loan to the rickshaw pullers belonging to poor and backward minority communities to buy e-rickshaws. He also spoke about pollution-free India and the government’s ambitious plan to convert polluting diesel buses to “e-buses.”
There are always two sides to everything. E-rickshaws provide employment to people and also in a sense promotes illiteracy, as license can be given to illiterates hampering the safety of people and violation of traffic rules. It also serves as a substitute for manual pulling rickshaws and is a way of earning livelihood for many poor people but because of its inappropriate structure and other safety reasons it was banned. With legalising it, the govt. has promised to work on its structure and the safety. The bill has still to be passed in Rajya Sabha to be practiced in Delhi. We hope that that it goes well as thought by the ministry and help rickshaw pullers to lead a better life.