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Return of the rickshaw soon?

Forced to park your car quite a distance away and walk down to the historic Red Fort or the famous Chandni Chowk market?
None | By Harish V Nair, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 20, 2009 11:09 PM IST

Forced to park your car quite a distance away and walk down to the historic Red Fort or the famous Chandni Chowk market?

Do not worry.

The cycle rickshaws may soon be back.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) — most parts of the Capital fall under this civic agency — is planning to provide some relief to the much-harassed cycle rickshaw pullers.

The rickshaw pullers, mostly migrants, lost their livelihood after a ban on their vehicles on Delhi’s arterial roads.

Under fire from the Delhi High Court for the manner in which its orders were implemented, the civic agency has told the court that it has constituted a committee to “critically examine” its cycle rickshaw policy.

There is good news for rickshaws, which are currently plying illegally too.

A special three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice A.P. Shah reviewing the policy has said no licensed cycle rickshaw being driven by an unlicensed puller would be fined, seized or impounded by the MCD solely on the ground that it the puller did not have a licence.

Significantly, the court has also stopped the practice of dismantling a seized rickshaw.

“The unlicensed cycle rickshaw if seized/impounded would not be scrapped or dismantled by the MCD,” the court said.

“However, the MCD would be entitled to levy a composition fee of Rs.50/- plus Rs.5/- per day per cycle rickshaw towards storage charges/departmental expenses etc.”

The MCD committee on rickshaws will study the impact of its policy in the public domain viz-a-viz the welfare of the rickshaw pullers and make appropriate recommendations with regard to the number of cycle rickshaws required in the city area-wise.

Their mandate also includes simplification of the rickshaw licensing procedure.

The court has asked the MCD to place its study report before it by July 9, the next date of hearing.

NGO Manushi Sangathan working for the cause of poor migrants, who constitute a major chunk of the rickshaw pullers in the Capital, had challenged the ban order.

The court has already questioned the rationale of ceiling of 99,000 licences when there were an estimated six lakh cycle rickshaws in the city.

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