Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung has approved plying of battery-operated rickshaws — popularly known as e-rickshaws — as public transport vehicles under the Motor Vehicles Act (MV).
Following the L-G's order, the transport department on Friday issued a notice asking owners of all e-rickshaws — numbering about one lakh — to get vehicle type approvals either from Vehicle Research and Development Establishment, Ahmednagar; Automotive Research Association of India, Pune; Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun; or International Centre for Automotive Technology, Manesar.
E-rickshaw dealers have also been asked to get trade licences and dealerships issued in their names within three months and avoid selling the vehicles till then.
The transport department has given six months' time to the drivers to get permits for driving light commercial vehicles, a driving licence and PSV badges.
"We have been pursuing the case for bringing in a regulatory mechanism for these vehicles for long. Now, we would be able to check growing violations by e-rickshaws under the MV Act," said Taj Hassan, special commissioner of police (traffic).
Often these vehicles endanger commuters' lives by carrying more than four passengers and flout traffic norms, he said.
A case whether e-rickshaws should be considered motor vehicles was pending with the high court for several months.
Last month, a high court bench asked the L-G to file a response to the court, appraising it of the policy decisions taken for regulating e-rickshaws which ply without any licence or number plates in the city.
About four months ago, the transport department had got 53 e-rickshaws examined by TERI and found that all had battery-run engine power over 250 watt and exceeded speed limit of non-motorised vehicles of 25kmph.