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Last mile connectivity: EPCA calls for regulatory framework for e-autos

twitter-logoPTI | October 14, 2019 | Updated 17:41 IST

New Delhi, Oct 14 (PTI) With the DMRC seeking the Supreme Court's nod for 15,000 e-autos to provide last mile connectivity from metro stations, an apex-court mandated anti-pollution panel on Monday asked it and other agencies to prepare a framework explaining how batteries will be recharged and the dead ones disposed off, among other issues. The direction from the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority came after the Supreme Court, which had earlier capped the number of auto rickshaws at one lakh, asked the panel to examine the issue and submit a report. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had earlier filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, seeking approval for the registration of 15,000 e-auto rickshaws to provide last-mile connectivity from all 184 metro stations in the national capital. At a meeting on Monday, EPCA asked all agencies and institutions concerned, including the DMRC, to prepare a framework explaining how the batteries will be recharged, the dead ones will be disposed and what the e-autos will charge from commuters. "We do not want that the metro travel becomes costly due to this. An auto rickshaw charges Rs 25 for the first 1.5 kilometers and Rs 9.5 per kilometer thereafter. Whether these rates will also apply to e-autos... and how to ensure that these battery-operated autos don't transgress their areas," EPCA chairman Bhure Lal said. A DMRC official who attended the meeting said the e-autos will be operated through concessionaires and GPS-based monitoring will ensure that they ply only in the areas assigned. EPCA member Sunita Narain stressed the need for a centralised e-auto monitoring station against having one each for every concessionaire. The DMRC official said that in addition to e-auto recharging stations, a centralised monitoring room can be set up on the Delhi Metro premises. An official of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways told EPCA that e-auto rickshaws are "beyond the cap on the number of autos in the national capital fixed by the Supreme Court". The ministry had issued a notification on October 18 last year, removing the requirement for permits for battery-operated vehicles. "If the Supreme Court says the cap is not applicable for e-auto rickshaws, the entire issue is sorted out," the ministry official asserted. PTI GVS CK CK

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