Though the Motor Vehicles Department has initiated measures to fill up vacant slots by issuing city permits to autorickshaws after 20 long years, it has met with several hurdles.
Firstly, the 1,385 applications have to be verified, as the applicants have applied for more than one permit. The Road Transport Authority (RTA) meeting maintains that only one permit will be given to each applicant. If the applicants do not qualify the criterion, the license will have to be cancelled. Besides, there are 800 applications already pending with the MVD. The MVD Act specifies that only 4,000 city permits can be given and the renewal of around 2,200 autorickshaws is in progress. But the Department has to tackle the strenuous task of issuing permits to about 15,000 autos plying in the city on panchayat permits. Only about 1,800 autos ply on city permits.
To issue a city permit, the applicant should reside in the city and the vehicle should not be more than 10 years old. But as city permits were issued only in 1993, autorickshaw drivers were forced to take panchayat permits. Hence the MVD will have to convert some of the panchayat permits into city permits, if found deserving. But the list which needs approval is too long.
They are clueless on how to tackle the issue. “Verifying the applications is a herculean task. The RTA has put the particular clause to restrict it from becoming a business,” said Sadiq Ali, Joint RTO.
Yet, the RTA has found that 4,000 autos are not enough for the city and has backed the view that the number must be raised to 7,000. Meanwhile, City Permit Auto Drivers Association came down heavily on the MVD’s view to raise the number of city permits. “How could the MVD say that 7,000 autos are sufficient? Have they appointed any agency to conduct a study on it. We would have accepted the decision, if an appropriate study was conducted,” said V A Martin, secretary of the Association.
The MVD Act does not have any clause which allows them to raise the permits on volition. Either the district collector who is the chairman of the Road Transport Authority or the Mayor have to make a proposal to the government. It has to be passed as a government order and should be publicised through the gazette. “The procedures to issue permits are deliberately getting delayed. If the RTA goes ahead with the suggestion of raising the number to 7,000, we will take the matter to court,” Martin said.
However, the joint RTO said that the first phase of issuing permits will be held on November 13.