Mumbai: 6,500 auto permit holders did not take the Marathi test

In the Mumbai Metropolitan region, 18,750 permit holding drivers gave the test, and 70% passed it; drivers who skipped the test to be summoned today

The Marathi test for auto rickshaw drivers — who were made to read from Std V Marathi textbooks — ended on March 5. And despite the fact that nearly 70 per cent of these permit holders passed the test, a good 6,597 did not appear for it. The test was held in RTOs across the state and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

Also Read: A for Auto, M for Marathi: Jittery auto drivers in Mumbai turn to Std V Marathi textbooks

Auto drivers take the test. Successful drivers were asked to deposit the permit fee through a demand draft, after their documents were verified. File pic
Auto drivers take the test. Successful drivers were asked to deposit the permit fee through a demand draft, after their documents were verified. File pic

On March 5, at Andheri RTO, after counting was done it was seen that out of the 25,347 auto permit winners, around 70 per cent passed. “Just around 70 per cent of the permit holders passed the examination,” said a senior RTO officer.

The authorities will now be giving these results to the High Court, which ordered a status quo and had stated that language cannot be a barrier for issuing permits.

Read Story: Want to drive an auto in Mumbai? Learn to read Marathi first

During the tests, every day several auto drivers and permit winners remained absent. Sources said that these people will now be called on March 7 to take this Marathi test.

Long queues were seen outside RTOs and people were busy reading the content from the books during the tests. The drivers were then ushered into rooms where RTO officials and a Marathi language expert quizzed them.

As part of the tests, every permit winner was asked to read paragraphs from chapters from the textbook in front of the RTO officers and teachers. Many of these rickshaw permit winners hailed from north India.

mid-day had reported the day the test started on February 29 (Want to drive an auto in Mumbai? Learn to read Marathi first).

Successful candidates were then asked to deposit the permit fee through a demand draft, after verifying their documents. The auto rickshaw unions had condemned this move as they claimed that the state transport department had already lowered the educational qualification to Std VIII for these auto permit holders and drivers.

In September last year, Transport Minister Diwakar Raote had announced that auto-licence seekers must have basic knowledge of Marathi and that they need to have been residents of Mumbai for past 15 years.

Raote said, “We are just testing basic knowledge of the local language and the auto drivers should at least be able to read and speak Marathi. The street signs and boards across the state are in Marathi and passengers speak the same.”

25,347
Drivers who submitted proper documents and got clearance from the RTOs to apply for permits in MMR

18,750
Drivers who gave language test

13,321
Drivers who passed the test

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