A staggering 10,491 auto-rickshaws will go off the capital's roads from Monday as their drives have failed to apply for smart card based permits, an official said. However, the auto unions have threatened a strike.
The Delhi government in November 2009 had asked the auto-rickshaw drivers to apply for smart card based permits in order to keep a record of the number of three-wheelers in the city, a transport department official said.
The auto union, however, expressed ignorance about the Delhi government's decision.
"We haven't heard anything from the Delhi transport commissioner and whatever we know is from the media. But it is really unfair on part of the government to cancel the permits of auto-rickshaw drivers," said Suresh Sharma, president, Rashtravadi Janta Tipahiya Chalak Mahasangh.
According to Sharma, the government is not issuing smart card based permits to those auto drivers whose vehicles are registered in someone else's name.
"A majority of these drivers have bought the vehicles from someone who no longer lives in the city and the vehicle is registered in the latter's name. We have asked the transport department to transfer the vehicle in the name of the present owner and issue a new permit but they are denying it," he said.
Rajender Soni, president of Delhi auto union, said: "If the government is not ready to issue permits to these 10,000 auto-rickshaw drivers, then we will go on a strike."
There are about 55,000 auto-rickshaws in the capital.