20 June 2018

New Lease of Relief for E-Rickshaws

New Lease of Relief for E-Rickshaws
Image Courtesy : electricrickshawmanufacturerindelhi.files.wordpress.com

With the arrival of new government, there is a sense of calm in few areas of the country’s development plan, in this case, renewable energy sector and industries that are behind it. Recently Deen Dayal e-rickshaw scheme was introduced. The scheme aims to legalise the operation of e-rickshaws in Delhi, with Nitin Gadkari even assuring e-rickshaw drivers that they would no longer be fined by the Delhi Police. The Deen Dayal e-rickshaw scheme will provide livelihood to two crore people. E-rickshaws were rendered illegal by a notification from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) on April 24, before Gadkari assumed office. In recent weeks, the Delhi Transport department and police had initiated a crackdown on such vehicles.

Various Issues and Challenges with E-Rickshaws

Earlier in March- 2014, a man was killed after coming under an e-rickshaw. The report suggested that he was trying to board a running rickshaw but fell down and came under its rear wheel. Ever since then, the driver or the vehicle registration has not been found yet as the cops are having a tough time arresting the driver as the only lead they have is green color rickshaw. Unlike other vehicles, e-rickshaws don’t have registration numbers, and even the drivers don’t need a licence. The cops have registered a case of causing death due to negligence on the complaint of an auto driver who witnessed the incident.

Overloading: E-rickshaws have batteries rated at 650-860W that makes it possible for them to touch 30kmph even under full load. They have seats for just five passengers-four in the back and one with the driver-but often carry as many as eight. While two passengers ‘adjust’ with the driver, the rest squeeze into the back.

Poor dynamics: Government agencies have not carried out any structural analysis of the e-rickshaws used in Delhi. Officials, however, point out their inadequate braking system.

Power theft: An e-rickshaw takes 6-8 hours to charge. Asif, a driver, said overnight charging sees him through an entire day. But with few charging points available, drivers tap into any available source, including streetlights. In some countries like Bangladesh where e-rickshaws have mushroomed, large-scale power theft exists to charge those batteries.

Passenger safety: Most e-rickshaws are owned by people who are not registered with the authorities. There is no way to keep a check on the antecedents of the driver or owner of a vehicle

Grey areas: The policy also needs to look into other aspects that have not been addressed as yet. For instance, the transport department has not earmarked any spots to park or charge e-rickshaws. Training in traffic rules, passenger safety and safe driving has to be imparted to the drivers as well.

But things are changing as on 17th June, Gadkari announced a slew of measures to help the nearly one lakh e-rickshaw drivers, including loans, registration and easing of norms. Gadkari said e-rickshaws with motor power up to 650W would now be considered ‘non-motorised vehicles’ and will not come under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. E-rickshaws having motor power up to 650W will now be regarded as non-motorised vehicles. Transport department and traffic police can not challan them from tomorrow, claimed Gadkari.

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