The Centre on Wednesday legalised plying e-rickshaws across the country. It authorised the battery-operated three wheeler to carry four passengers and fixing a maximum speed of 25 kilometre per hour.
The Delhi High Court had banned e-rickshaws from city roads in July, calling them a hazard to other traffic and citizens.
The court had ruled that there was no provision for plying the battery-operated vehicle as per existing law and left it to the legislature to decide the changes needed.
“E-rickshaw means a special purpose battery operated vehicle having three wheels and intended to provide last mile connectivity for transport of passengers,” the new rule issued by Sanjay Bandopadhyaya, Joint Secretary, ministry of road transport and highways, said.
Transport minister Nitin Gadkari had backed e-rickshaw operators and promised to legalise e-rickshaws by September-end, prompting the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday to accuse him of not keeping his word.
A government official said the AAP had clearly jumped the gun.
According to Wednesday’s notification, the transport minister has not only set the minimum standards that e-rickshaws have to adhere to but also legalised e-carts, a three-wheeler that can be used to carry a maximum load of 310 kg.
A transport ministry official informed the notification had introduced specifications that e-rickshaws would have to meet to get the permit to ply on the roads.
“Existing e-rickshaw owners would have to upgrade their vehicles to bring them in line with the new standards,” he added.
Under the rules, e-rickshaw associations are expected to compile a list of different models of the vehicles and to a designated testing agency by November 30, and submit a sample for testing vis-a-vis the new standards.
Existing e-rickshaws would get their clearance once the sample model clears this test.
The new rule requires the fitness certificate of the vehicle and driving licence to be renewed every three years.