In an endeavour to promote e-rickshaws, the Government today has announced via a Gazette Notification that e-rickshaws and e-carts will be free from permit requirements.
According to the Government’s statement,
The provisions of sub-section (1) of section 66 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 will not apply to e-carts and e-rickshaws (as defined in section 2A of the said Act,) that are used for carrying goods or passengers with personal luggage. This means that vehicles that are registered as e-carts or e –rickshaws will not require any permits.
However, the e-rickshaws have been allowed to carry a maximum of four passengers and 40 kg of luggage, while e-carts can transport goods of up to 310 kg. This has been done to ensure that the vehicles are not used as transport vehicles in any public place or misused in any way.
According to definitions that were set by the Government earlier, an e-rickshaw is a special purpose battery operated vehicle with three wheels that intends to provide last mile connectivity for the transport of passengers for hire or reward.
With this new announcement, it will be much easier for these vehicles to ply on the roads, as obtaining permits was one of the major hurdles they faced. However, the Government has also noted that State Governments can impose restrictions under appropriate traffic laws on the plying of these vehicles in specific areas or specific roads.
This new notification undoubtedly makes it amply clear that the vehicles will now operate hassle-free, which wasn’t happening with the rules being set earlier.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched Ola’s e-rickshaws as part of the Startup India initiative. The transport aggregator first launched the ‘e-rickshaw’ category on its app in the Delhi-NCR region, which could be deployed across Delhi, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Noida and Faridabad, and also later in Lucknow.
Although, Ola is the first cab aggregator to come up with an e-rickshaw hailing service, Gurgaon-based Treasure Vase Ventures (TVV) also launched the Smart Electric Transport System (Smart-E), which is a ride-share model and provides services like travelling to and from metro rail stations.
According to the Telegraph, the number of ICAT-approved e-rickshaws in April 2016 was 280. With this new notification from the Government, the number of these vehicles is likely to soar.