While over 14 months have passed since the Reciprocal Common Transport Agreement was signed by Delhi and three others States for paving the way for encouraging “unrestricted and seamless movement of interstate traffic” of the passengers and goods in the National Capital Region, the plan is yet to be implemented and because of this commuters travelling to and fro Delhi from the satellite townships continue to face a lot of harassment.
As per the agreement between Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan that was signed on October 14, 2008, there was to be unrestricted movement of inter-State traffic of vehicles registered in the National Capital Region and they were not to be stopped at the barriers or borders.
“But the reality is that while auto-rickshaws from Delhi and Haryana do not enter into each other’s territory, in case of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, while there is no difficulty in their travelling to Noida, when it comes to Ghaziabad the drivers, many of who stay across the border, have to pay their way through the borders,” said Rakesh Agarwal, secretary of Nyaya Bhoomi, an organisation working for the welfare of the auto-rickshaw operators and drivers.
At times commuters coming to Delhi from Ghaziabad complaint that they have to pay nearly Rs.150 for a mere 5 km travel. Mr Agarwal said payments made for entry to the authorities result in increase in the fare. “The people are also compelled to shell out more,” he said, adding that “implementation of the pact has only got stalled due to lack of political will and the arrogance and ego of the bureaucracy which is not bothered about the welfare of either the commuters or the transport operators”.
As per the agreement, the contract carriage permits for motor cabs and taxis using clean fuel or compressed natural gas and conforming to the Euro norms applicable in the NCR would be able to move without restriction and would be exempted from paying passenger tax and road tax. As per the conditions, “no additional permit charges would be required to be paid in addition to permit charges paid in the State where the vehicle is registered”.
The agreement had laid down that 4,000 auto-rickshaws from Delhi would be able to operate in Uttar Pradesh and similarly 4,000 registered in U.P. would be able to ply in Delhi. The agreement between Delhi and Haryana had also provided for the same numbers.
It has also been laid down that the auto-rickshaws and taxis registered in NCR and playing across the border would be given a colour code and logo for easy recognition and that there would be no kind of tax on them on entering the other State.
“In all about 19,000 vehicles would have moved between these four States following the pact. But unfortunately while we should have been working towards open borders, even this agreement has not been implemented,” Mr. Agarwal said. “In the case of the auto-rickshaws permission was required from the Supreme Court, which has set a limit on their numbers in Delhi, but the Delhi Government has still not moved the court in this matter. And while nothing was coming in the way of taxis, even that issue has not been resolved,” he charged.
Besides facilitating movement of vehicles, the agreement had also sought to lay the foundation for modernising the transportation system across the NCR. It had called for the States to take the initiative to computerise the database of drivers, vehicle registration and other related information and to endeavour to implement the usage of the high security contactless registration plates on vehicles and replacing of old registration plates in a phased manner.