BENGALURU: It’s time for autorickshaws in Bengaluru to go digital as the allotment of e-permits for 1.25 lakh vehicles will start in a week . The 30,000 permits which are being issued after a gap of seven years, will also be in e-format. The auto drivers will have to visit the RTO at Shanti Nagar and can replace their existing permits for free.
“The initiative was pending from implementation during the previous government, as it was delayed due to the onset of elections. Initially, Vahan 4 (digitalised registration of vehicles) did not have the facility to provide security provisions for the physical e-permit as the proposal is for Bengaluru alone. The provision is made under Vahan 1 (manual national registry of vehicles), though it is not centralised. Here, the e-permit is tamper-proof,” said Additional Commissioner of Transport (e-governance & environment), Shivraj Patil.
V K Moosa, additional secretary, Regional Transport Authority and RTO Shanti Nagar said, “E-permits will be shifted under Vahan 4 next year, where all the data will be stored under the centralised system online.”
Considering the limited number of autorickshaw permits that are being provided, there has been a circulation of ‘Transfer Permit’ which was previously provided by the RTO over 10 years ago.
Tanveer Pasha, President of Adarsh Auto Rickshaw and Taxi Drivers Union, alleged “there is apparently a huge mafia behind the old/fake permits. Such is the audacity that, the transfer permit is being transferred to anyone irrespective of owning or not owning autorickshaw. So those permits which are still in the market are being recycled and there is a huge demand for it.”
The permit costs Rs 30,000 to Rs 70,000 as it is in high demand, thanks to middlemen have been luring several drivers who are still unaware of the existing ‘DL permit’.
Currently, autorickshaws which are registered with valid ID are given drivers permit (DL permit) which is non-transferable. The permits are bought from consultants/middlemen, who facilitate between the drivers and financiers (who run the showroom to purchase the vehicle).
“These small-time finance firms are swindling auto drivers by charging them exorbitant rate of interest of 27 per cent (IRR) against the government norms capping at 14 per cent under secured loan scheme,” Tanveer added.
To purchase the three-wheeler through consultants, they have to shell additional charges such as down payment of Rs 40,000-Rs 60,000 along with Rs 5,000 as commission and Rs 3,000 for the agreement. The charges are additional to the ex-showroom price of an auto which costs Rs 1.70 lakh approximately.
“Data shows over 1.94 lakh autorickshaws are registered in Bengaluru against 1.25 lakh permits issued by the authorities. I have found 300 consultants created by the financiers alone and they operate from areas such as Tannery Road, Shivajinagar, Kalasipalayam, Mysuru Road, Goripalya etc,” Tanveer said.