November 6, 2017 04:00 AM NPT
By: Yogesh Rawal
TIKAPUR, Nov 6: A large number of e-rickshaw drivers and entrepreneurs in Tikapur Municipality staged a protest on Sunday by shunning their service for the whole day.
The agitated drivers and entrepreneurs have demanded cancellation of the registration of e-rickshaws from Seti Zonal Transportation Management Office (SZTMO). Instead, they want the municipal office to handle the registration process.
Besides that, they have demanded concession in the name of environment-friendly vehicles. Not just that, they have urged the concerned authorities not to give permission to the drivers to run rickshaws exceeding its capacity.
According to Bipul Singh Thapa, general secretary of the Association of Electronic Rickshaw Entrepreneurs (AERE), it has been a tough job for the organization to coordinate with SZTMO especially due to the distance. They have to reach Dhangadhi for the registration and renewal of rickshaws, which takes a long time.
Drivers are compelled to reach SZTMO along with their rickshaws in case they lose their vehicle registration certificate 'bill book' or other documents.
"It is not possible to reach Dhangadhi as we run out of battery. We have to charge the rickshaw more than once in such a long distance, which is not possible," said General Secretary Thapa.
Not just that, the owners are obliged to pay Rs 27,000 more than the actual price of the rickshaw while registering the vehicle at SZTMO. Though the actual cost of the rickshaws is less than Rs 12,000, businessman charge them exorbitant price, lament the officials of association.
They have to pay Rs 3000 for renewal and Rs 7,000 as insurance charge every year.
"We are tired of the hectic process so it would be better if we can get that facility in our own municipality," said Pahalman Singh, chairperson of AERE.
After a recent meeting with the entrepreneurs and drivers, the municipality had agreed to send a letter to SZTMO regarding this issue. However, the Mayor of Tikapur Municipality
Tapendra Bahadur Rawal said it is difficult to address the demands of the e-rickshaw drivers anytime soon.
"We all tried to solve their problems and even consulted with the officers of SZTMO but they told that it was technically challenging," said Rawal.
Currently, there are around 150 electronic-rickshaws in Tikapur and all of them are registered at SZTMO, Dhangadhi. Rickshaw drivers don't even have license. In recent days, management of the environment-friendly rickshaws has been really challenging as they don't have proper routes and the owners are found selling them by the breaching the rules of SZTMO.