Will cities like Delhi and Mumbai get quadricycles as an alternative to autorickshaws? The UPA government on Thursday formed a high-level group headed by road secretary Vijay Chhibber to take a call on the issue.
The new category of vehicles is expected to replace autorickshaws as a faster and safer mode of intra-city public transport.
Manufacturers like Bajaj Auto are ready with a prototype and waiting for government’s nod to hit Indian roads with quadricycles. But automakers have raised serious objections fearing dilution of safety and emission standards binding on other vehicles.
Even at the meeting held by the road ministry, Tata Motors called the introduction of quadricycles as a “retrograde step”. Maruti Suzuki India demanded they follow standards of other four-wheelers.
Meanwhile, pressure is building up within the UPA government to introduce quadricycles as urban public transport, especially in Delhi and Mumbai.
On May 4, heavy industry minister Praful Patel had written to road minister CP Joshi to “expedite the process of establishing standards/regulations for quadricycles so as to initiate its introduction at the earliest”.
Patel also highlighted that even though quadricycles are not plying on Indian roads currently, they are “already prevalent in several countries in Europe including France and Germany”.
While arguing that quadricycles can also be an alternative for carrying small loads in urban and peri-urban areas, Patel even suggested that India can readily adopt Western standards and make modifications to expedite entry of the vehicles.