Delhi govt’s e-rickshaw subsidy scheme fails to take off

After receiving a number of complaints from disgruntled e-rickshaw owners, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has pulled up environment and transport departments for failing to disburse the Rs 30,000 subsidy to eligible drivers.

delhi Updated: Aug 24, 2017 21:17 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times
Delhi government,e rickshaw in Delhi,e-rickshaw subsidy
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has pulled up environment and transport departments for failing to disburse the Rs 30,000 subsidy to eligible drivers.(HT Photo)

The Delhi government’s subsidy scheme for e-rickshaws has failed to take off despite the authorities having launched it thrice since February last year.

After receiving a number of complaints from disgruntled e-rickshaw owners, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has pulled up environment and transport departments for failing to disburse the Rs 30,000 subsidy to eligible drivers.

Subsidies for more than 1,000 applicants have been stuck ever since Kejriwal relaunched the scheme last month at an event in the national capital. While the environment department has been delaying clearance of over 800 applications, the transport department has 200 such cases pending with it.

Sources said that the chief minister has now given both the departments 48 hours to resolve the issue and release the funds to the beneficiaries immediately. Officials, however, claimed that the applications were stuck due to glitches on part of the applicants, some of whom were even caught for duplication.

“There are errors in the forms submitted by e-rickshaw drivers. We returned around 805 such applications to the transport department to correct deficiencies,” an official in the environment department said. The applications are submitted to the transport department which first scrutinises them and then forwards it to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee of the environment department which ultimately releases the funds.

“This idea of giving us subsidy has been going on for more than a year now. But, the government has failed. Our drivers have been unable to get the monetary benefit despite applying for the scheme,” said Jai Bhagwan Goel, chairman of the Battery Rickshaw Sangh.

Delhi has 34,800 registered e-rickshaws out of which 21,500 were found to be eligible for the scheme. The transport department said it received 14,393 applications ever since the scheme was first launched at a mega event in February 2016.

“A good e-rickshaw adhering to the prescribed standards costs about ₹ 80,000. In the absence of any incentive, where do we get the money from? Hence, many opt for rickshaws that are assembled with Chinese parts,” said Hazari Lal, an e-rickshaw driver who operates from Rajendra Place Metro station.

First Published: Aug 24, 2017 21:17 IST