High Court has been hearing a petition by non-government organisation

After years of harassment from the police and municipal authorities, there is finally some good news for the rickshaw pullers and owners. In compliance with the directions of the Delhi High Court, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) on Wednesday announced a special drive for registration of cycle-rickshaws and rickshaw pullers through their Citizen Service Bureaus (CSB). Likewise, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation initiated the drive on March 25.

The High Court has been hearing a petition by non-government organisation Manushi Sangathan urging it to allow cycle-rickshaws to ply in the city as it was a means of livelihood for thousands of poor people.

Contrary to the earlier practice, in the new municipal policy on rickshaws, drafted after the Court’s intervention, there is no limit on the number of rickshaws that can be registered. All the applications complete in all respect would be accepted and the rickshaws would be registered. The municipal authorities have also categorically stated that there would no longer be any instances of impounding, seizing, destroying and scrapping of cycle-rickshaw, as such practices have been completely discontinued.

According to municipal officials, the process of registration has been simplified and residence proof or proof of purchase of cycle-rickshaw would not be asked from the applicant. The CSBs have also been equipped with biometric machines, to take index finger impressions, and cameras for taking the photographs of the applicants for registration.

But the registration fee fixed by the municipal authorities is much higher than the rates under the last municipal policy when Rs.50 was charged per annum for registration and Rs.25 per annum for the licence.The rates are also higher than those proposed by the petitioner in this case; a registration fee of Rs.400 (for five years), parking charge of Rs.100 (one time) and a licence fee of Rs.100 (for three years).

The civic bodies have now fixed the charges at the time of registration at Rs.400 for 5 years and licence fees for rickshaw pullers has been kept at Rs.150 for 3 years.

The applicant would have also to pay a one time parking fee of Rs. 300 at the time of registration.

The application forms for registration have been made available free of cost at the CSB counters.

They can also be downloaded from the website of the corporations at www.mcdonline.gov.in

In December 2011, the Delhi High Court had directed the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi to frame a policy on registration and licensing of cycle-rickshaws after ascertaining their exact number, areas where they ply and other relevant factors.

Four years prior to the Court orders, the MCD had capped the number of licences issued to rickshaws at 52,000 but after the Court’s intervention, the civic body had a rethink on the limit.

Madhu Purnima Kishwar of Manushi Sangathan welcomed the development saying that it would curb the process of corruption, harassment of marginalised rickshaw pullers and facilitate easy entry of unemployed youth into a source of earning.

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