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Sharad Rao-led auto union protests online issue of permits

The automated system to issue new auto permits has given Sharad Rao-led auto union another excuse to protest. According to them, many drivers have stated that they are facing trouble filling the new permit forms. The union has threatened to carry out a dharna outside the Transport Commissioner’s office in Bandra (East) on February 1.

The online system has been initiated by the state transport department to issue 34,000 new permits for auto rickshaws in Mumbai and surrounding metropolitan areas. However, according to the union, around 1,000 applicants were unable to proceed with ease.

“At least 15 per cent of the total applicants from Mumbai are facing problems while registering online, due to several unattended glitches in the system,” said Shashank Rao, Assistant General Secretary, Mumbai Auto Rickshawmen’s Union.

Sources in the union claim that while filling the form, when applicants upload the photo and details on the first page, the second page asks them to upload the photo again. In addition, the page tends to hang if the applicant tries to go back to the previous page.

Rao, the union leader, said, “We want the transport department to allow manual submission as well. Moreover, the government did not even approach us before deciding on the date of starting the online process.” The union also opposed the new minimum educational qualification of Std X, from the present Std VIII, stating that most drivers are not well educated and this will affect their livelihood.

They seem prepared to carry out a dharna in a peaceful manner against the online process on February 1, which may later turn into a bigger protest. However, sources in the state transport department claim that these are nothing but tactics for their personal gain.

“As we have moved online, obviously the union’s hold over their members will decline. Moreover, they seem to have collected money against forms for the new permit, which is of no value now,” said an RTO official, who would like to remain anonymous. Transport Commissioner, VN More has clearly stated that there will be no manual intervention.

Statistics
34,000: Total new permits to be issued 
27,000: Total applications received (approx.)
3,200: Applicants from Mumbai

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