Mumbai : The Rickshaw Unions in the state are likely to protest vehemently against the transport ministry for compelling the auto rickshaw drivers to pass Marathi exam before getting a license. Transport department in the state is conducting a Marathi language test for the lottery winners for auto rickshaw permits for which Monday was the last day.

However, the result of the tests will be declared only after Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court’s ruling in a PIL opposing the test. Hearing in the case is scheduled for next week. Successful candidates are expected to receive auto rickshaw permits.

The Rickshawmen’s Union leader Shashank Rao said that they will strongly protest against the transport ministry for taking such decision which is differentiating between the applicants. Why the government needs to create a language barrier for the permit seekers, he questioned.

“We are just waiting for the board exams to finish as we do not want to trouble the students,” he said.

While another union from Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra Rickshaw Chalak Union, alleged that out of 1,900 candidates from Vashi RTO, more than 200 have illegal domicile certificates. If the applicant is having address of Navi Mumbai, how can the Mumbai collectorate office issue domicile certificate, Union’s General Secretary Sunil Kadam asked.

While, the Vidharbha Rickshaw Chalak Union, under the leadership of Vilas Bhalekar, has moved to High Court challenging transport ministry’s decision. Their petition says that even if the rickshaw driver knows workable Marathi, he should be granted permit.

“The hearing of the case was scheduled for Monday (March 7) but now it is postponed to next week. Only after the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court orders, we will decide on further course of action,” informed state transport commissioner Shyam Wardhane.

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