PESHAWAR: Around 4,000 rickshaw drivers find themselves jobless after the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government imposed a ban on certain old types of auto-rickshaws.
The provincial government had announced that vehicles manufacture in 1985 or earlier will not be allowed on streets. The ban was imposed last month by the K-P Directorate of Transport in a bid to curb the growing number of old auto-rickshaws that posed a serious threat to the environment.
However, the drivers are now jobless and in dire need of alternate sources of income. They demand the ban be lifted or they be provided alternate jobs.
“The government has only granted permission to use the old rickshaws on the outskirts of Peshawar where there are not many passengers,” Khyber Drivers’ Union president Murad Khan told The Express Tribune.
“The provincial government also wants to reduce the ‘rush’ (heavy traffic) by banning our old rickshaws,” Khan said, “But the main reason for the ‘rush’ is the lack of any proper planning by the government for the development of city.” He said that if the government did not lift its ban or provide other suitable jobs, it would infuriate even more rickshaw drivers in the district.
Director of the K-P Directorate of Transport, Manzoor Ahmad, said that the ban on old auto-rickshaws would not only reduce the traffic density but would also help solve pollution problems.
“We have given some consideration to the drivers of old rickshaws by allowing them to be used on roads outside the city,” he added.
Regarding the issuance of permits, which were stopped by the provincial government, Ahmad said a notification would be issued for new permits soon. However, they would only be given to those drivers who have received registrations letters from the Directorate of Excise and Taxation, and would not increase the number of new rickshaws.
Currently there are around 30,000 rickshaws in Peshawar.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2012.
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