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No auto-rickshaw permit in Maharashtra to those who can not speak Marathi

New Delhi: In yet another controversial decision by the Devendra Fadnavis government, new autorickshaw permits will only be granted to those who can speak Marathi, effective from November 1 this year.“New autorickshaw permits from Nov
India TV News Desk September 15, 2015 23:25 IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi: In yet another controversial decision by the Devendra Fadnavis government, new autorickshaw permits will only be granted to those who can speak Marathi, effective from November 1 this year.

“New autorickshaw permits from Nov 1 to be issued to only those applicants who can speak Marathi,” Maharashtra Transport Minister Diwakar Raote announced today.

A sizeable part of Mumbai's auto driver belongs from the northern states of India. By putting down these pre-requisites, the state government has almost ensured that migrants from other parts of India, who want to work in the state, also learn Marathi.

Maharashtra's capital Mumbai alone has more than 11 lakh auto permits.

After the BJP took power in Maharashtra last year, the Devendra Fadnavis government took conducted a survey and found that around 70 per cent of auto drivers in the state are non-Maharashtrians.

 

Transport Minister Diwakar Raote, a Shiv Sena member in Devendra Fadnavis Ministry, today said the government had decided to issue quite a large number of autorickshaw permits and the only conditions for applicants is that they should speak Marathi and should be residents of respecive localities for 15 years.

Opposition Congress and NCP were quick to slam the decision accusing Sena and BJP of whipping up the sons-of-the-soil sentiment for making gains in Mumbai civic polls due in early 2017.

“As a Diwali gift to the people, the government will issue 1 lakh fresh auto permits in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (which includes parts of adjoining districts) and 25 per cent of the existing number of autos in other parts of the State,” Raote told reporters.
“In 1997, the then government had stopped issuing fresh auto permits. But in the last 15 years, the population of the state has increased rapidly and we think at least one lakh fresh permits need to be issued in MMR region alone,” he said.  

“The only conditions the applicant must be able to fulfil are - he should speak Marathi and be a resident of (respective) locality for at least 15 years,” he added.  

The Minister made it clear those who do not fulfil these two conditions would not be issued permits.
Criticising the Marathi string attached to decision,

Congress and NCP leaders said BJP and Shiv Sena were once again raking up ‘Marathi Manoos' (sons of the soil) issue in view of coming Mumbai civic elections (slated in early 2017).  Congress said the maximum a government can do is to ensure an autodriver knows the topography of the city.  “Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city where people of all faiths and other states stay. In such an environment, there cannot be any discrimination in the name of language.

The government can ensure a driver knows the topography of the city but cannot discriminate,” Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam said.  NCP leader Sachin Ahir said the decision makes it seem that those running the government are “extremists”.  “They are simply raking up Marathi manoos issue ahead of Mumbai civic body elections.

When I was Transport Minister, we only expected people to know various languages, including Marathi, but never imposed rules on them. It seems this government is being run by extremists,” he said.

( With Inputs from PTI)