As if it wasn’t enough that heavy vehicles are openly flouting safety norms in Dwarka, now e-rickshaws, too, have joined the fray.
Jumping red lights, taking wrong turns, stopping anywhere they please are more the norm than the exception. The e-rickshaws almost always overload, violating the norms under the Motor Vehicles Act, which prescribes the number of passengers that can be taken on. Also, these rickshaws instal more powerful batteries instead of the standard battery defined under the law.
“These rickshaws are often seen jumping red lights, plying on the wrong side and what not! Earlier, they would carry one or two passengers, but now that number has increased to six, plus the driver. Sometimes, they are riding at a speed of 40 kmph, which again is not safe as far as e-rickshaws are concerned. So there are multiple violations,” says Arti Sharma, a resident of Sector 10.
Kunal Kant of Sector 14 adds, “At the Metro station of sectors 9 and 14, the e-rickshaws often pick up five to six students going towards IP University campus. Also, if you are trying to get past the Metro station from the side of Gate No 1 in the morning, it’s extremely difficult, as the entire road is blocked by them.”
Besides overloading, there are other problems as well, explains AK Sharma, a resident of Sector 9. He says, “At the Sector 9 Metro station, the e-rickshaws enjoy a monopoly. They decide how many passengers to take and how much to charge. If you resist, they retaliate! They often pick up passengers to Ramphal Chowk from the wrong side of the road. They should be dealt with strictly.”
According to the Delhi Motor Vehicles Act, vehicles with motor power less than 250W and speed less than 25 kmph need no registration. But these e-rickshaws often instal four or more batteries, bringing the power upto 650-850W. Though designed to carry only five people, including the driver, they often ply with six to seven passengers.
Though registration has started for such vehicles and they are being brought under the purview of the law, many things are yet to be done. Most residents feel educating the drivers and creating awareness among them should be accorded priority.
A resident of Sector 5, Vishal Gupta says, “These drivers should be made to wear a uniform and a badge. Also, the authorities should make more effort to prosecute them. Neither the transport department, nor the civic bodies are willing to do something about this growing nuisance.”