Agartala: The Tripura on Tuesday directed the state government to stop within one month all converted motor-rickshaws from plying in the state. The court also directed the government to submit an action-taken report within four weeks.
Hearing a public interest litigation filed by a lawyer, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Arindam Lodh directed the commissioner of Agartala Municipal Corporation, district magistrate (West), SP (traffic) and transport authorities to ensure that all motor-operated cycle rickshaws are stopped from plying in the state.

The court said, “We are faced with a very piquant situation where the authorities, be it the Agartala Municipal Corporation or the district administration, are passing on the burden of responsibility to each other. Without taking any concrete action, the authorities are allowing illegality to be perpetuated by not stopping or regulating operation of manually-driven rickshaws with a special purpose battery installed in them. This is endangering the life and safety of the passengers who are using such rickshaws as well as the passersby.”

There have been strong protests against the illegal motorization of cycle rickshaw in Tripura over the last two years. Neither the previous Left Front government nor the present BJP-IPFT government has taken any steps so far to stop these rickshaws from plying. The safety of passengers has always remained a point of concern, with these being involved in several serious accidents that led to deaths and permanent disability of citizens. A weak public transport system has led to a manifold increase in personal vehicles, leading to traffic congestion, increase in pollution and accidents in Agartala.

Meanwhile, the state government, while welcoming the decision of high court, said Tripura has an Act for regulation of motorized rickshaws but it has not been implemented yet. “We prefer to regulate the motor-driven rickshaws with adequate mechanical correction by installing better safety options and restricting their speed limit in the city areas. It is inhuman to ask people to manually pedal rickshaws and carry passengers. Therefore, if these motorized rickshaws can be modified and regulated, this could be a good source of livelihood besides being an ecofriendly measure,” said a senior official of the state government.

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