Gramin, e-autos are good evil

Small electric vehicles are boon for commuters but they break traffic rules  

For car drivers, bike riders and pedestrians of Delhi, these are a menace. But if you are commuting short distances, these are the best environment-friendly modes of transport.

The gramin sewa service, electric rickshaws and cycle rickshaws are operating as the good evil on Delhi’s roads.With no proper parking spaces and poor driving skills, these vehicles lead to traffic snarls and accidents.

After Blueline buses were scrapped, demands for a cheaper mode of public transport intensified. As the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has only half of the buses required for the city’s population, the government okayed the concept of gramin sewa – small vans which are supposed to connect interiors areas from main roads and Metro stations.

 However, the former Congress government failed to provide any basic infrastructure for this service. And as a result, the gramin sewa drivers started parking their vehicles on the roadside with the help of local police officers.

“The drivers of gramin sewa stop their vehicles in the middle of the road any time they see a commuter. They are such a menace that they occupy the entire road and drive at dead slow speed, leading to heavy traffic jams behind. Another major problem is parking.

They decide their own parking space and policemen help them in this. They occupy a large section of the road creating a bottleneck for commuters,” says Col (Retd) Raghavendra Singh, who complained against the gramin sewa to the transport department of Delhi.

In areas where roads have become narrow due to Metro construction, these vehicles create problems.

“In Mayur Vihar Phase-I, the gramin sewa has become a nuisance. I am sure that 90 per cent of the drivers of these vehicles do not have any valid driving licence. The condition of these vehicles is very bad. The Metro has occupied a large part of the road for construction of the new line and the rest of the road is occupied by gramin sewa,” says Kailash Katiyar, president RWA, Mayur Vihar Phase-I, Pocket-I.

The controversial electric rickshaw, which doesn’t requires any registration from the transport department, is growing rapidly on the roads and is providing a pollution-free mode of transport. But with its slow speed and ability to take sharp turns, these vehicles are blocking traffic across the city. 

According to rules, rickshaws are not allowed on main roads. But the the drivers of these electric rickshaws exploit the confusion over the definition of their vehicle, and jump in the busy traffic on main roads of Delhi, leading to traffic jams.

“The average speed of an electric rickshaw is 20-30 kmph but the traffic on busy main roads of Delhi runs at 50-60 kmph. These vehicles block at least one lane during peak hours, leading to heavy traffic snarl at ITO, Kashmere Gate, Connaught Place and many other areas of Delhi,” a senior Delhi Police official says.

Pick-and-drop

And then there are the pick-and-drop cabs. They are the desi version of ‘The Fast and The Furious’ and ‘Need For Speed’. Defying all traffic signals, the cabbies have become the number one traffic violators. Unlike the gramin sewa and the electric rickshaws, which create menace due to their slow speed, the cabbies create a real threat on the streets with speeding.

“The picks and drops of call centres and other offices in neighbouring cities of Gurgaon and Noida continue the entire day. We often put speed interceptors on bordering roads to nab speeding cabbies,” a senior police official says.

Despite attempts by Delhi Traffic Police to contain them, these cabbies have earned the tag of rashest drivers on Delhi’s roads.

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