New Delhi: A bill to regularise e-rickshaws and provide for driving licences for drivers plying these battery-operated vehicles drew wide support in Lok Sabha today even as some opposition members demanded that it be sent to the Standing Committee for wider consultations.
Some members also wondered if the BJP government was pushing the bill with an eye on Assembly elections in Delhi in the coming months.
Moving the The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2014, for consideration, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said drivers and passengers of e-rickshaws are poor people and a court order has affected over 2 lakh people who depend on them for their livelihood. An early passage of the bill will be a boon for them, he said.
Besides members from ruling NDA parties, those from AIADMK, TMC and TRS among others also supported it while offering various suggestions.
Rajeev Shankarrao Satav (Cong) said if the government was really concerned about plight of families depending on e-rickshaws for livelihood, then it should have brought the bill in the previous session.
"The minister (Gadkari) seems to be indulging in poll campaign for Delhi election through this bill," he said.
Claiming that the bill was silent on safety aspects, Satav said it should be sent to a standing committee for wider consultation.
Tathagata Satpathy (BJD) said the government should have focussed on modern means of transport, adding that roads in Delhi are already choked with heavy traffic.
He agreed with Satav's demand that it be sent to a standing committee.
Udit Raj (BJP) said Motor vehicles Act already covers safety aspects of transport and the bill if passed would help phase out hand-rickshaws which are "inhuman".
Vasanthi Murugesan (AIADMK), Prem Singh Chandumajra (SAD), Vinod Kumar Boianapalli (TRS) and Rammohan Naidu (TDP) also spoke.