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Cycle rickshaws may be back on Delhi main roads

High Court orders creation of exclusive lanes for non-motorised vehicles. Harish V Nair reports.
By Harish V Nair | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 24, 2013 10:34 PM IST

The humble cycle rickshaws may soon be back on the city’s main roads and Chandni Chowk.

The Delhi High Court on Friday favoured cycle rickshaws on arterial roads in Delhi and Chandni Chowk on exclusive lanes to be created for non-motorised vehicles.

“There cannot be a blanket prohibition till such time separate non-motorised vehicle lanes for cycle rickshaws are provided on the carriageways of arterial roads,” said a bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and S Muralidhar.

Regarding the existing cycle rickshaw ban in Chandni Chowk, the court said given the current use of the main Chandni Chowk arterial road, reserving exclusive lanes for rickshaws is “imperative”.

“Rickshaws are indispensable for providing link transport to innumerable users of public transport. Given the unprecedented growth of residential colonies, a large section of the middle-class population that commutes by buses, trains and the Metro, is dependent on cycle rickshaws for further journey to their homes and places of work,” the court had said during an earlier hearing.

MCD had banned cycle rickshaws in Chandni Chowk and majority of main roads in the city in October 2006 citing congestion following an order of the Delhi High Court. But the court, acting on plea by NGOs representing rickshawpullers, said in 2010 that the ban needed to be reviewed.

The court also slammed Delhi lieutenant governor Tejendra Khanna and chief minister Shiela Dikshit for taking unilateral decisions aimed at blocking return of the rickshaws when the Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure Planning and Engineering Centre (UTTIPEC) and a special task force (STF) formed by the court to decide the issue was deliberating on it.

Setting aside the lieutenant governor’s November 21, 2012 decision, the court said, “the decision not to allow rickshaws to ply on carriageways of arterial roads appears to have been taken unilaterally by the lieutenant governor without referring the issue back to the UTTIPEC of which he is the head”.

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