Bike-taxi drivers in Delhi mull return to home towns after SC order
Gyanesh, who has a five-month-old daughter, said he will go back to his home town in UP as there would be no work for him in Delhi
Anand Rai, a bike-taxi driver, had returned to his home town in Uttar Pradesh after the Delhi government's crackdown on such vehicles in February. The Delhi High Court's direction disallowing any coercive action against bike-taxi aggregators offered some relief and Rai was planning to come back to the national capital.
But Monday's Supreme Court decision staying the High Court order has forced him to reconsider his decision. Many others like him are in despair following the court order.
The High Court, in its May 26 order, had essentially allowed bike-taxi aggregators Rapido and Uber to operate in the national capital by asking the Delhi government not to take any coercive action against them until a new policy on the matter was formulated. The apex court, however, stayed the High Court order on Monday.
A vacation bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Rajesh Bindal has granted liberty to both Rapido and Uber to request urgent hearing of their pleas by the Delhi HC. The bench has also recorded the Delhi government counsel's submission that the final policy will be notified before July-end.
"I had come back to Azamgarh after the Delhi government's crackdown. But I was planning to come back to Delhi after the High Court decision. But this is bad news. I had specially bought a two-wheeler by mortgaging some jewellery. But going by the situation, now I will be forced to buy a four-wheeler and drive it commercially," Rai told PTI over phone.
The Delhi government's crackdown had made it extremely difficult to drive bike-taxis, Rai said.
"We had started accepting rides from Gurugram, Noida and Ghaziabad at that time but even there the policemen used to harass us," he said.
Thirty-year-old Rai has a wife and two children.
Gyanesh, who has a five-month-old daughter, said he will go back to his home town in UP as there would be no work for him in Delhi.
"I was earning a decent amount through bike-taxi for the last two-and-a-half years. But now, if they will ban us again, it will be a loss to customers and us also. My wife and family stay in our home town and I send them money. But now if this source of income ends, I will go back home and do something," the 23-year old said.
Mohammad Amir (23), a resident of Ghaziabad, echoed similar views as his counterparts saying the employment of several people will be affected by the latest court order.
However, Rajendra Soni, general secretary of Delhi Auto Rickshaw Sangh, welcomed the Supreme Court decision and said that it comes at the right time.
"These bike-taxis are doing business despite having private numberplates. They took away the employment of so many autorickshaw drivers and caused loss to the government since they did not have to pay any tax. We demand that the aggregators should be slapped with a fine of 10 lakh if bike-taxis are found plying on the roads," he told PTI.
Earlier in February, the transport department had cautioned bike-taxis against plying on the roads of Delhi, warning that it was a violation of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, that would make aggregators liable for a fine of Rs 1 lakh.