E-rickshaws to be back soon; govt approves changes in law

Paving the way for return of e-rickshaws on roads of the National Capital, the Cabinet on Friday approved amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act that will ease the norms for obtaining a licence to drive the battery operated vehicles.

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New Delhi: Paving the way for return of e-rickshaws on roads of the National Capital, the Cabinet on Friday approved amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act that will ease the norms for obtaining a licence to drive the battery operated vehicles.

The e-rickshaws had gone off road after the Delhi High Court banned plying of these vehicles on safety concerns. The approved changes, which also include adding definition of e-rickshaws and e-carts to the Act, will help these vehicles get the legal status.

This will also help drivers of these vehicles get a licence without mandatory one-year period of holding a licence to drive light motor vehicles.

"The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today gave its approval for a proposal to remove difficulties in granting licence to the drivers of the e-rickshaws and e-carts by amending the Section 7 (1) of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, and adding the definition of e-rickshaw and e-cart under the Act," an official statement said.

A week ago the Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had announced that a Bill to solve issues like commercial licences for e-rickshaw drivers would be introduced in the current session of Parliament.

Under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, no person can be granted a learner's license to drive a transport vehicle, unless he has held a driving license for a period of at least one year to drive a light motor vehicle.

The statement said the present approval was given to remove the clause as most of the e-rickshaws and e-carts drivers do not have any licence and the the existing provision will debar them from operating e-rickshaw/ e-cart for the next one year.

"In order to remove this difficulty, and facilitate plying of e-rickshaw and e-carts, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has proposed to amend Section 7(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which will give relaxation to e-rickshaw and e-cart drivers only," the statement said.

The statement said e-rickshaws and e-carts provide affordable and clean last mile connectivity.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in October had notified rules under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, to bring the e-Rickshaws and e-Carts within the legal framework ensuring tests for approval of prototype for safety standards before registration of the vehicles.

As per the notification, e-rickshaws will be allowed to carry four passengers and 40 kg luggage while e-carts would transport goods up to 310 kg.

The rules define e-rickshaw as a special purpose battery operated vehicle 'having three wheels and intended to provide last mile connectivity for transport of passengers for hire or reward'.

These vehicles are constructed or adapted to carry not more than four passengers, excluding the driver and the net power of its motor is not more than 2000 Watts and the maximum speed of the vehicle is not more than 25 kilometre per hour.  

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