Bill ends run of rickshaw

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 5.12.06
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The ban on hand-pulled rickshaws was formalised on Monday, with the Assembly passing the Calcutta Hackney Carriage (Amendment) Bill, 2006.

The bill was tabled on July 20 and referred to a select committee following a motion moved by chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Participating in a discussion before the passage of the bill, Bhattacharjee said the government would rehabilitate a large number of rickshaw-pullers and also owners of licenced rickshaws by engaging them in car park cooperatives.

A “reasonable compensation” will be paid to those who cannot be rehabilitated, so that they can switch to other professions.

“Many of the rickshaw-pullers are from Bihar. We would like to know whether they are interested in going back to their home state. Also, several are suffering from tuberculosis. We would like to provide them with money... But our main target is to rehabilitate as many rickshaw-pullers as possible,” Bhattacharjee said.

The government will immediately arrange rehabilitation of around 2,000 of the 5,000-odd rickshaw-pullers in car-parking cooperatives.

Before the Bill was passed, Sudip Bandopadhyaya (Congress) urged the government to pay at least Rs 1.5 lakh to every rickshaw-puller.

The chief minister had expressed his intention to ban hand-pulled rickshaws in his Independence Day speech last year.