E-rickshaw owners are alleging that for the past one month, traffic police have been "unauthorisedly detaining" their vehicles on the road

A large number of e-rickshaw owners converged at Jantar Mantar Road here on Monday to protest against the alleged harassment by the traffic police despite the Delhi Government initiating steps to regulate the sale of these non-polluting battery-powered vehicles. E-rickshaw owners are alleging that for the past one month, traffic police have been “unauthorisedly detaining” their vehicles on the road in order to dissuade them from operating in certain areas.

Transport Minister Ramakant Goswami had this past week said show-cause notices were being issued to the dealers for selling such vehicles. “The battery-operated vehicles are fitted with battery of more than 250 watt. The department had decided to stop sale of e-rickshaws in the city till such rickshaws are brought under an ambit of a regulation,” he had said. There are also allegations that though the maximum speed shown on the speedometer on the vehicles is 20 kmph they can go much faster.

According to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, all electric vehicles with power more than 250 W or speed more than 25 kmph require a valid registration number, a vehicle registration plate, and the driver to have a licence.

The protesters said they had no problems with getting e-rickshaws registered and licences for the drivers but said the onus was on the Government to name an agency for the purpose and to put in place a system quickly.

“We have spent Rs.80,000 pledging gold and property to buy these vehicles. Many have also booked these vehicles but we have no idea whether that amount will be refunded. Also there is now uncertainty about whether we will be allowed to ply,” said Rinku, who plies along the Paharganj-Sadar Bazaar route.

Rakesh Gupta, an e-rickshaw driver, alleged that he was stopped outside Bangla Sahib Gurdwara while ferrying passengers by a traffic policeman who grabbed his keys and kept him waiting for three hours.

The protesters said they would stay put at Jantar Mantar until the Government took a decision on the policy to be adopted towards e-rickshaws.

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