RTO officials seized the vehicles after they found irregularities in documentations and permits in the crackdown conducted on July 9 and 10. “A delegation from the Navi Mumbai Rickshaw Mahasangh had approached us claiming that a lot of auto rickshaws plying on the roads are bogus and therefore we decided to conduct a drive. So far we have confiscated the vehicles and are investigating the matter further,” said Sanjay Daygude, deputy regional transport officer at Vashi RTO.
Union takes the lead
The Navi Mumbai auto rickshaw union had been receiving a lot of complaints from several rickshaw drivers stating that they have been spotting a lot of unauthorised autos in the area. Acting on the complaint, the union decided to draft a letter to the RTO officials to ensure that appropriate action is taken. RTO officials then decided to carry out a drive to crackdown on the illegal rickshaws, which operate in the city without proper papers.
Keeping RTO company
MiD DAY decided to accompany the RTO officers on the second day of the drive. Several rickshaws were thoroughly checked after which the transport authority impounded the vehicles not carrying proper documents.
It was observed that RTO officers stop rickshaws and check their paper work. If the paper work is missing, then the vehicles are seized and the drivers are asked to come to the RTO office with the relevant papers to secure the release of their three-wheelers.
The basic requirement of the RTO is the fitness certificates, insurance paper, permit paper, pollution under control certificate (PUC) and a valid licence. If these documents are missing, have any irregularities, or have expired, then the auto is confiscated.
Cheating the system
RTO rules state that after 16 years of service, a rickshaw is declared as junk and when a vehicle is scrapped the auto identification number is removed and taken away. Auto drivers then rebuild these autos and illegally emboss a chassis number near the steering handle of the rickshaw. In the two-day drive, RTO officials seized nine rickshaws on the first day, and 17 the next day. Over 8,000 auto rickshaws are plying in Navi Mumbai, and according to RTO officers, the number of bogus autos is high in Nerul and Airoli.
Vishnu Tukaram Patil, president of the Navi Mumbai auto rickshaw union, said, “We had been receiving complaints from rickshaw drivers saying that they have been seeing a lot of illegal autos. After receiving these complaints we sent a letter to the Navi Mumbai RTO office a month ago.