There are over 100,000 illegal e-rickshaws plying on the roads of the national capital and many of them are operating on 236 roads where movement of these vehicles has been prohibited, the Delhi high court was informed on Wednesday.
In a status report submitted before the court, the traffic department told the court that action has been taken against over 200,000 e-rickshaws, of which 7,543 e-rickshaws have been impounded. Besides, action has also been taken against over 90,000 gramin sewa vehicles, of which 2,305 have been impounded.
Some of roads where movement of such vehicles are prohibited include Raj Niwas Marg, Barakhambha Road, Sansad Marg to Outer Connaught Place, Minto Road, Ashoka Road, Africa Avenue, Outer Ring Road, and the Cantonment area.
The court was apprised of these facts during the hearing of a contempt petition filed by two gramin sewa vehicle owners against the commissioner of traffic Varsha Joshi and other authorities for not regularising and giving proper licences to e-rickshaws in the capital.
Appearing for the traffic department, standing counsel Prabhsahay Kaur informed the court that at present, there are over one lakh illegal e-rickshaws in the city. She said there are 236 roads where these e-rickshaws have been prohibited.
“In order to regulate the movement of e-rickshaws, the government of NCT of Delhi prohibited their movement and parking on 236 roads in December 2014 under Section 115 Motor Vehicles Act, 1988,” the status report said.
She also said efforts are being made by both the traffic department and the transport department of the Delhi government to regularise these e-rickshaws and cap their numbers to 50,000.
However, justice Siddharth Mridul asked the government counsel how a cap can be imposed when these vehicles are already plying on the streets.
“How can you introduce a cap when they are already plying on the roads? There are already a lakh running without licences,” the court said, seeking to know the number of licences issued to e-rickshaws.
It also sought to know about the steps taken by authorities in regulating the menace of illegal e-rickshaws that operate outside Metro station.
“What about the Mehrauli-Badarpur road, the roads that lead to Max hospital and Qutub Minar? The road is always blocked because of e-rickshaws parked outside the Saket Metro station. Outside every Metro station, there is jam because of e-rickshaws that are double- and triple-parked,” the court remarked.
It went to add that the efforts of the authorities are not showing any result. “Proof of the pudding lies in the eating. We want officers on the field and not in the court,” justice Mridul said while referring to joint commissioner of police, Traffic, Alok Kumar who was summoned to the court.
The court was informed that joint meetings have been conducted by the traffic department and the transport department and another one would be held soon to resolve the issue of illegal e-rickshaws.
Following this, the court asked them to file a joint status/action taken report, informing it about the steps taken.