Govt relaxes norms for e-rickshaw

Apparently keeping in mind the coming Delhi Assembly polls, the Centre on Friday approved the relaxation in norms for e-rickshaw drivers, paving the way for the battery-operated vehicles to ply on the capital roads.

The Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved relaxation in norms for driving licences for e-rickshaw drivers.

“The norms have been relaxed for issuing licences for e-rickshaw drivers. The provision that no person shall be granted a learner’s licence to drive a commercial vehicle unless he or she has held a driving licence for light motor vehicle for at least one year has been waived,” source said.

E-rickshaw is a legal entity and any driver passing the driving test would now be granted a licence, he added.

After Delhi High Court banned plying of e-rickshaws on the roads terming they are hazard to other traffic in July this year, the Union Road Transport Ministry had notified the new rules for making driver’s licence mandatory for operating them and limiting the maximum speed to 25 km per hour.  

The government had notified the Central Motor Vehicles (Sixteenth Amendment) Rules, 2014, which paves the way for plying of “special purpose battery operated vehicles”.

But e-rickshaw owners have strongly opposed some of the norms saying that it would render useless lakhs of such vehicles which have been in the market. 

Heeding their plea, Union  Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said the government would relax some norms on the issue of driving licences. He also said the government was serious about resumption of battery-operated vehicles on Delhi roads. 

The new rules provide that e-rickshaw will be 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 or adapted to carry not more than four passengers, excluding the driver, and not more than 40 kg luggage in total; the net power of its motor is not more than 2000 W and the maximum speed of the vehicle is not more than 25 km per hour.”

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