New auto a distant dream, thanks to RTA norms

Permission for running a new auto is given only if the owner surrenders the old one at the Regional Transport Authority for scrapping

HYDERABAD: The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s (GHMC) decision not to allow more than one lakh autorickshaws to ply on city roads turns to be a bane for thousands of people who want to buy new autorickshaws for making a living in the megalopolis.

Permission for running a new auto is given only if the owner surrenders the old one at the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) for scrapping. It prevents a driver from purchasing a new auto even if he can afford, thus forcing those who run rented autos to remain as a tenant driver forever.

There are some cases where the permit is sold for above Rs 1 lakh by the existing auto owners. But several owners allege that when they surrender their old autos for scrapping at the RTA office, the parties assigned for buying them by the authorities are not paying them properly.

If a driver wants to have a new auto rickshaw of his own, then for the sake of getting a permit he has to buy an old auto, by shelling out close to Rs 1.5 lakh, and after scrapping that one, a brand new auto costs him more than Rs 2 lakh. Altogether he has to spend an amount of Rs 3,50,000 to buy and run a new auto.

These GHMC officials say these restrictions are only to curb traffic snarls and to control pollution. An official at the transport department opined that since battery-run autorickshaws are out in the market, the government should come up with schemes to encourage more such vehicles in the city. “More autos are needed in the city and this could be a good solution,” he said.

“When cars, taxis, bikes and other commercial vehicles are given permission without any restriction, why the poor auto drivers are imposed with such restrictions?” questioned A. Satish Reddy, general secretary of Telangana Auto Union Samaikya.

“When an auto is scrapped after a period of seven to eight years, the owner hardly gets Rs 5,000. Hyderabad is now a bigger city and more autos should be allowed now. It generates more employment,” he added.

Mohammed Ali of Balaji Nagar, Yapral, who bought a brand new battery-run autorickshaw, said, “This vehicle cost me Rs 3,10,000. On each charge of three hours, it runs up to 110 kilometres and there is Rs 90,000 subsidy on this vehicle.”

Papa Rao, deputy transport commissioner, RTA, said, “The restriction is imposed by the authorities to control traffic as well to prevent pollution. Only one lakh auto rickshaws are permitted in the GHMC area.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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