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Hail a small car, say bye to autos

You may soon find small cars replacing auto-rickshaws on Delhi’s roads. Delhi’s transport department is working on a scheme to find a “safe and secure” vehicle to replace auto-rickshaws.

delhi Updated: Dec 04, 2009 01:30 IST
Atul Mathur

You may soon find small cars replacing auto-rickshaws on Delhi’s roads.

Delhi’s transport department is working on a scheme to find a “safe and secure” vehicle to replace auto-rickshaws.

Apart from being a risky mode of transport, auto-rickshaws are also exposed to the city’s extreme weathers.

Senior transport department officials said small cars or taxis would run on arterial roads and longer routes, while three-wheelers would be restricted to smaller routes, especially congested areas where big vehicles are difficult to manoeuvre.

“We will not completely phase out auto-rickshaws. We will offer the permit holders to replace their old and worn out vehicles with cars or restrict their vehicles to residential colonies,” a senior transport department official said, requesting anonymity. “They will not be allowed to come on arterial and radial roads.”

Officials said the transport minister has held meetings with three-wheeler drivers and small cars manufacturers, and is giving final touches to the plan.

The cars would be fitted with global positioning system.

The scheme, said senior transport officials, would help strengthen public transport in Delhi and help break the auto financiers mafia in the Capital.

There are 55,000 compressed natural gas propelled auto-rickshaws in Delhi. Most of them are owned by auto-financiers.
Since the Supreme Court has fixed a cap on the number of auto-rickshaws that can ply in the Capital, a three-wheeler with the transport department’s permit sells for more than double its actual price.

While a three-wheeler costs just about Rs 1.75 lakh, it is sold for more than Rs 4 lakh with the permit to run it as an auto-rickshaw in Delhi.

A transport department official said a scheme was being worked out to offer an auto-rickshaw driver with the public service vehicle badge (issued by the transport department) to replace his three-wheeler or buy a car at concession.

“We will help him getting auto loan at the lowest possible interest rate,” said the senior official requesting anonymity.