The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party’s government on Tuesday announced that it would be issuing 15,000 autorickshaw permits to those belonging to the SC/ST and OBC categories. Of the 45,000 new permits allowed to be issued by the Supreme Court, only a few permits have been allotted under this category till date.
“The government is committed to the cause of autorickshaw drivers and the SC/ST community. The idea is to provide self employment to them. At present, most of the autorickshaws are under the control of a cartel and the drivers employed by them have to pay the owners exorbitant rents. This move of providing permits to the SC/ST and OBC category will help break this nexus,’’ Transport Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj said.
According to the transport department, only 1,300 permits have been issued to drivers under this category even though there is a provision to issue nearly 14,000 permits under the category.
Bhardwaj had earlier said 5,500 autorickshaws will be given inter-state permits. These 5,500 autorickshaws are part of 7,000 autorickshaws in the NCR cluster scheme, which is under litigation. While 5,500 individual permits will be issued soon, around 1,500 auto permits will be kept aside till the case is settled, Bhardwaj said.
When questioned on how he would clamp down on the autorickshaw cartel, Bhardwaj said the number of autorickshaws plying on the road would have to be increased.
“We need to add more autorickshaws in a phased manner keeping in mind parameters such as traffic congestion and pollution,’’ he said.
There are 55,000 autorickshaws plying in Delhi at present and another 45,000 were allowed to be given permits by the Supreme Court.
Incidentally, the Delhi government had gone to court six months ago with the proposal of allowing more autorickshaws but it was put on hold by the Supreme Court, which said the state must fill up the OBC/SC/ST quota before seeking more autorickshaws.