Of the thousands of cancelled taxi and auto permits from Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, the state has reissued only 4,000 taxi permits; these were give to a fleet taxi company in March 2011. The fate of the other 62,314 cancelled permits is still undecided.
The government had stopped issuing new taxi and auto permits in Mumbai from November 26, 1997. As a result, the number of taxis in the city has gone down, making it tough for commuters to find taxis during peak hours.
The government cannot make up its mind on whether a lottery or scoring system should be adopted while re-issuing cancelled permits as a large number of applications are expected.
Sources said the government has almost finalised the policy for re-issuing cancelled permits.
Initially, the government had thought of a lottery system, but the law and judiciary department said that it would invite contempt of court. So, the state government has come up with alternative scoring or marking system.
“A few months back, the state government had asked for the transport commissioner’s feedback about whether to adopt the lottery or marking system,” said a transport department official.
In a feedback letter to the state government dated June 21, 2012, the transport commissioner clearly mentioned that the scoring system would not be practical as lakhs of applications are expected for a few thousand permits. Giving the example of the Mhada lottery, the transport commissioner even advocated the lottery system for transparent distribution of permits.
Transport department officials and unions feel that if the number of taxis and autos on the city’s roads goes up, the situation would improve. On the other hand, RTO offices are likely to cancel nearly 2,200 permits that haven’t been renewed within the six months stipulated period.
Leader of the Mumbai Autorickshawmen’s Union Shashank Rao said, “There is massive population growth in the suburbs in the last 15 years, therefore our demand is that the state immediately re-issue dormant permits and also release an extra two lakh auto permits.”