With just a few months to go for the Assembly election in Delhi, the AAP government Wednesday notified new auto-rickshaw fares effecting a 18.75-per cent increase on existing rates.
The move will impact owners and drivers of over 90,000 auto-rickshaws plying in the national capital, who had played a crucial role in the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
"@ArvindKejriwal govt fulfils its key promise. Transport Department has notified revision of auto-rickshaw fares. After revision also, auto fares in Delhi to remain lower than other metro cities," Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot tweeted.
"Auto-rickshaw drivers will be able to charge the revised rates after necessary re-calibration of fare meters. It will take around 1.5 months for re-calibration of meters in over 90,000 autos registered in Delhi," said a senior Transport Department official.
Under the revised rates, the metre down charge will be Rs 25 for the first 1.5 km, instead of existing 2 km. The per km charge has been increased from existing Rs 8 to Rs 9.5, which is a hike of around 18.75 per cent.
The notification introduces waiting charge at the rate of Rs 0.75 per minute if an auto is caught up at a traffic signal. Luggage charges will be Rs 7.50.
The notification on revised fare structure was forwarded to the State Transport Authority (STA) by the Transport Department. The issue of the notification was delayed after officials objected to it saying that the Lieutenant Governor's approval was needed for the notification.
Finally, it was issued on approval of Mr Gahlot, following a Law Department opinion that the Lt Governor's nod was not needed for it.
Sources claimed that the approval of the STA, set up under the Motor Vehicles Act, was now needed for implementation of the revised auto-rickshaw fares. The panel is headed by the transport commissioner, and includes two legislators and a Traffic Police officer as members.
A Delhi government spokesperson, however, said the notification on auto fare revision is a "mandatory and irreversible directive" to the STA to implement the cabinet decision.
After completing due formalities, the STA will implement the decision at the earliest, he said.