New Delhi: AAP on Sunday hit out at Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on the issue of the plying of e-rickshaws in the national capital and claimed that although he had "promised the moon" to the drivers of such vehicles, he had failed to protect their interests.
The party further said in a release today that former Delhi chief minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal will address e-rickshaw drivers at Jantar Mantar on Oct. 8 as they seek simplification of the Centre's draft notification regarding the plying of such vehicles along with removal of the exorbitant fees which the surface transport ministry has proposed to levy on them.
AAP claimed that the draft notification does not fully address the concerns of e-rickshaw drivers.
"It is surprising that Gadkari made very tall promises at Ramlila Ground on June 17 and promised the moon to e-rickshaw drivers, but miserably failed to implement any of his promises for more than three months.
"The road transport ministry has now brought e-rickshaws under the Motor Vehicles Act despite Gadkari having publicly stated that (vehicles) with motors of up to 600 watts would be exempted from the MV Act. Was he ill-informed or was the announcement made to mislead the poor drivers?" said AAP.
The party said it was "shocking" that e-rickshaw drivers were subjected to a four-month wait till the draft notification was released.
Although the draft notification allows the plying of e-rickshaws after 10 days, AAP said that "practically, it will take much longer".
The party clarified that it supports regulation of e-rickshaws so that they can legally ply in the national capital and "there is no problem in imposing traffic-safety related restrictions on them".
One of the issues pointed out by AAP is the "high and unjust" registration cost of around Rs 5 lakh prescribed in the draft notification, which the party wants waived. Another issue raised by PTI AAP is that "there is no
registered association of e-rickshaw drivers and individual drivers would have to run from pillar to post to obtain all the legal clearances".
"The Delhi transport department must be directed to hold special camps for giving the necessary clearances," AAP said.
"Since the manufacturers who assembled the e-rickshaws with components of different brands, including imported ones, might not be able now to provide the required certificates, the authorities concerned must find a way of providing fitness certificates to existing e-rickshaws," the party added.
"What is important is that all the bottlenecks must be immediately removed to ensure the plying of e-rickshaws, since around two lakh poor drivers are struggling to earn their livelihoods and their families are facing numerous hardships due to the government's negligence," AAP said.