22,048 auto rickshaw permit holders apply for Rs 1,500 assistance

Mumbai: Until May 24, at least 22,048 auto rickshaw permit holders applied for Rs 1500 relief provided by the state government. Sources said that on Sunday the website crashed due to heavy traffic and was strengthened on Monday.

Monday was a busy day for the unions as well as for the Transport department authorities who had to ensure that their website doesn’t crash again. On May 23, their website had crashed as too many beneficiaries tried to log in to avail the relief.

According to the RTO officials, they enhanced the technical parameters of their website to handle the sudden surge in traffic. “As on May 24, there have been 11,000 applications that we have received for availing Rs 1500,” said a RTO official.

There are at least 7.15 lakh auto rickshaw license holders that the government claims to be across the state. Of these 4.50 lakh are in Mumbai and MMR. The transport department officials blame the applicants for the sudden surge in traffic on their website. Senior officials said that the auto drivers have ample time to apply.

The unions on the other hand claimed that the licensed auto rickshaw drivers are still in their hometowns who are logging in either by asking them to fill the details or do it on their own. “The website is very slow. It takes lot of time to apply for this aid after filling up details,” said KK Tiwari, auto rickshaw union leader.

As per process mentioned on the website of Transport department, the auto drivers need to apply for the plan. The Transport department has listed primary details on who all are eligible for applying for this financial aid and documents required for the same. They have also created separate links for drivers to apply for Aadhar number or update mobile number, check status of bank account and mobile number linked to their bank account.

After applying, the system asks for valid mobile number on which OTP is sent. The applicant then needs to select the RTO where vehicle is registered, enter vehicle number, driving license number, and click on Aadhar number. “There are many drivers who are illiterate and don’t understand these procedures,” said Thampi Kurien, auto rickshaw union leader.

The Maharashtra government had announced a relief package of Rs 107 crore to 7.15 lakh for auto rickshaw permit holders across the state. Of these there are 4.50 lakh permit holders in MMR alone. The unions are demanding another Rs 1500 for the extended lockdown until May end.

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