Seeking to rein in and regulate e-rickshaws plying in the city, the Delhi Traffic Police on Wednesday informed the high court that the battery-powered vehicles had been involved in more than 36 accidents this year alone. Two passengers had lost their lives.
Till June 2014, a total of 137 cases had been registered against e-rickshaw drivers for rash and negligent driving.
Raising serious concern, the Delhi traffic police said the passengers of e-rickshaws are not insured for injury or death as these vehicles do not carry insurance.
This effectively curbs the passengers of these battery-powered vehicles against claiming any compensation from insurance companies in case of a mishap.
The matter becomes complicated as the operation of e-rickshaws is not regulated under the Motor Vehicle Act, because of which the police are unable to prosecute them.
The traffic police claimed the unregulated plying of these vehicles often caused traffic problems and were a cause of nuisance on the roads.
“A large number of e-rickshaws are operating all over Delhi without registration and are being driven by people without proper licences. The drivers are not subjected to any background verification which is mandatory for all other public service vehicles operating in the state,” the traffic police said in its affidavit.
The traffic police said the battery-operated rickshaws should be properly registered in accordance to the Motor Vehicles Act and there should be a zoning system and colour coding for streamlining their operation.
It quoted The Energy and Resources Institute study that conclusively established that the wattage and speed of the e-rickshaws qualify them to be a motor vehicle.
“Any further assembly or production of e-rickshaws should be strictly prohibited till a regulatory mechanism is put in place,” the traffic police said.
It added that they should not be allowed to operate on arterial roads as their speed did not match that of other vehicles. Their operation should be restricted to feeder service as a mean of ‘last-mile connectivity’, the traffic police said.
The HC is likely to hear the traffic police suggestions on Thursday.