Delhi govt’s subsidy scheme for e-rickshaw drivers fails to take off
As soon as his government completed a year in Delhi, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, on February 17, announced with much fanfare, a subsidy of ₹15,000 for e-rickshaw drivers, which later was enhanced to ₹ 30,000.delhi Updated: Oct 27, 2016 19:26 IST
It’s been eight months since the Delhi government announced a subsidy scheme for e-rickshaws drivers in the city, but records accessed by Hindustan Times show nothing has been done about it so far.
As soon as his government completed a year in Delhi, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on February 17, announced with much fanfare, a subsidy of ₹15,000 for e-rickshaw drivers, which later was enhanced to ₹30,000.
However, records indicate that no subsidy has been disbursed, other than on the day the announcement was made.
Kejriwal, while addressing a rally of e-rickshaw drivers at Chhatrasal stadium, asserted that his government is “pro-poor” and distributed cheques of ₹15,000 to 26 drivers who already registered their e-rickshaws with the transport department. On the same day, 2,523 other registered battery operated rickshaw drivers were also given the subsidy. Data with Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) suggests that till Wednesday, the number of e-rickshaws availing the scheme remained at 2,549.
As on October 13, Delhi had 19,548 registered e-rickshaws, whereas, rough estimates suggest that over a lakh of them are operating in the capital.
The subsidy was being given from the Air Ambient Fund and so far, ₹382.35 lakh has been spent in disbursing it.
“Initially, we faced problems in duplicity, as documents submitted to us by the Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) were not uniform. By July, we framed guidelines that stated the mandatory fields that needed to be filled by drivers for their application to be accepted. But in August, the file was sought by the Lieutenant Governor. Since then, the matter is pending with the L-G,” said a DPCC official on condition of anonymity.
The government, in this year’s budget, also increased the subsidy to ₹30,000 for e-rickshaws registered after April 1, 2016, but that too remains on paper and is currently under “consideration.”
Unhappy with the situation, several e-rickshaw drivers staged a protest on Monday demanding disbursal of the subsidy amount.
“We were only given false promises. Apart from the subsidy, there are delays in registration and verification procedures as well,” said Hazari Lal, an e-rickshaw driver who operates from Rajendra Place metro station.
“A good e-rickshaw adhering to the prescribed standards costs about ₹ 80,000. In the absence of any incentive, where do we get the money from? Hence, many opt for rickshaws that are assembled with Chinese parts,” he added.
HT tried contacting Satyendar Jain, Delhi’s transport minister for comments, but he couldn’t be reached despite repeated attempts.