Delhi Traffic Police have stiffly opposed any move to lift the ban on cycle rickshaws in Capital’s arterial and main thoroughfares, including Chandni Chowk.
The ban was imposed in 2006. According to Delhi Traffic Police, it will worsen the already chaotic situation on the roads.
“It is necessary to ensure that all steps be taken to prevent slow moving vehicles from plying on arterial and major roads and limit them within the residential colonies and that too in limited number. Lifting the ban will congest the roads further,” says a communiqué sent to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) by the traffic police.
The comments from Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Prabhakar came in response to views sought by a committee headed by MCD Commissioner K.S. Mehra which is “critically re-examining” the existing cycle rickshaw bye-laws on the orders of the Delhi High Court.
An NGO Manushi Sangathan, representing poor migrants in Delhi, has moved the Delhi High Court seeking lifting of the ban. It has also suggested a series of amendments to the policy on cycle rickshaws in the Capital.
Traffic police said the number of vehicles on the road has increased from 37 lakh in 2001 to 60 lakh by the end of 2008 (a 62 per cent jump in seven years) and re-introduction of cycle rickshaws will heighten the chaos.
“Delhi is witnessing a phenomenal growth in population in terms of human and vehicular,” said Prabhakar.
Stating that the endeavour of the government has been to provide the national capital with facilities comparable with the capital cities in the developed countries, Prabhakar said: “Flow of traffic has gradually slowed due to explosion in the number of vehicles.”
Police said since a cycle rickshaw puller does not require driving licence, they do not undergo formal training in traffic rules and are prone to committing traffic violations.
Prabhakar said cycle rickshaws being commercial vehicle should also be subjected to the stringent provisions applicable to the other commercial vehicles plying on the road.
A three-judge Delhi High Court bench is examining the MCD policy on cycle rickshaws.
The bench has already observed that the ban and the policy of restricting the number of rickshaw on grounds of curbing congestion on roads was “unrealistic”.