Raote is the former mayor of Mumbai and a hard-core Sainik.
As a Diwali gift to the people, the government will issue 1 lakh fresh auto permits in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (which includes parts of adjoining districts) and 25 per cent of the existing number of autos in other parts of the State.
However, there is a rider. This move has the potential to stir up a hornet’s nest.
For availing the auto-rickshaw permit, the applicant must speak Marathi and should have a domicile certificate to show that he has been a resident of the state for the past 15 years.
Shashank Rao of Mumbai Automen’s union said that according to provisions of Motor Vehicle Act, knowledge of local dialect is necessary for auto rickshaw permit seekers.
At present, there are approximately 2 lakh authorised autos plying in the metro area. “But, one thing has been agreed upon and that is the person applying for permits should be able to speak Marathi”, Raote said, when asked whether the government is thinking upon developing a certain criteria for allotting permits. There was a huge demand to lift the freeze.
“Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city where people of all faiths and other states stay. The state should not discriminate amongst its people”, Nirupam said. The new permits will be issued from 1 November 2015.
Each rickshaw runs almost 180km daily – most in the form of short trips of 10-15km – leading to huge congestion on the roads which will now go up by 50% with their numbers going up from 2 lakh to 3 lakh.
The transport minister of the state, said that the decision has been taken as the population has increased since then.