Friday, October 24, 2014

Gujarat mulls 6-month ban on fresh auto registrations

The more than 1.25 lakh auto-rickshaws plying on city roads have become a problem not for commuters or the state government but for auto-drivers themselves.

In fact, the drivers' fraternity has demanded a freeze on registration of new auto-rickshaws because the large number of three-wheelers on city and state roads is making it difficult for their drivers to make a decent living.

Sources said in response to the drivers' demand, the state government is thinking of stopping fresh registrations of auto-rickshaws for six months to begin with.

State transport minister Nitin Patel said the state government has received several representations for a ban on new registrations of auto-rickshaws. "There are issues like lack of parking space, congestion on roads and, most importantly, a fall in the income of auto-drivers. We are looking into their demands but the final approval is yet to be given," said Patel. Ashok Punjabi, president of Gujarat Auto-rickshaw Driver's Action Committee, said the association is concerned about the fall in number of passengers per rickshaw.

"We have requested the state government to ban registrations of new rickshaws at least for a year, to allow existing drivers to earn a decent livelihood. In the past two years, the income of drivers has dropped from Rs 600 per day to Rs 400 a day," said Punjabi.

Transport experts say auto-rickshaws constitute 5% of the total 31.96 lakh vehicles in Ahmedabad city. On an average, 6,000 auto-rickshaws are added to Ahmedabad streets every year, which is an average annual growth of 7% in their numbers. In the state, there are 6.38 lakh rickshaws, which is 4% of 1.70 crore vehicles.

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