No new autos during curbs

Scam jeopardises plan to induct more by Jan 1

The recent autorickshaw permit scam has sabotaged Delhi government’s plan to roll out 10,000 new three-wheelers ahead of the implementation of the odd-even car curbs.

The Arvind Kejriwal government had suspended three transport officials, including Deputy Commissioner (autorickshaw unit) Roy Biswas, last week for alleged irregularities in distribution of Letter of Intents (LOIs) to new autorickshaws.

Transport Minister Gopal Rai told Deccan Herald on Monday that the plans of bringing new autorickshaws on Delhi roads have been put off until January 15. Following the incident, the government had scrapped LOIs for 932 new vehicles.

The letters were allegedly handed out to dealers and intermediaries instead of applicants, according to a preliminary inquiry. The applications for new permits were received in January this year.

“The exercise of issuing LOIs has been put on hold,” the government had said.
Delhi government decided to introduce 10,000 new autorickshaws as part of its plan to strengthen public transport in the city, just days after announcement of the road-rationing scheme, during January 1 to 15.

“There was a huge backlog of permits waiting to be cleared for almost a year now. Because there over 17,000 applicants against 10,000 permits, the  officials were supposed to issue LOIs on a first-come-first-serve basis,” Rajinder Soni, general secretary of the Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh said.

In a move to corner the Kejriwal government over the alleged scam, Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday held a demonstration outside the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence. A large number of autorickshaw drivers also took part in the protest.

“It hurts to know that Kejriwal government robbed the permits from auto drivers and gave them to the auto mafia,” Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay said. He also demanded Chief Minister’s resignation over the issue.

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