AGARTALA: A young e-rickshaw owner-cum-driver on Saturday committed suicide three days after the Tripura police launched a crackdown against the unregistered battery-operated rickshaws, police said.
According to police, Vivekananda Malakar, 49, owner-cum-driver of an e-rickshaw on Saturday killed himself by consuming poison at his rented house at Indranagar, on the outskirts of the capital city.
"Family members of Vivekananda told the police that he purchased the e-rickshaw on loan from a private bank. After the police launched the crackdown against the unauthorised two-wheeler, out of frustrations he ended his life," police said quoting the family members.
The deceased's family separately told the media that the government's decision to halt unregistered e-rickshaw forced Malakar to death. According to the joint transport commissioner Dibyendu Chakraborty, there are 9,000 to 10,000 e-rickshaws, locally called 'Tomtom' and 'Tuk-Tuk', mostly unregistered, are plying in Tripura, since 2013 and carrying passengers. Only 45 to 50 such vehicles were registered so far.
"According to the Motor Vehicles Act, the e-rickshaws must be registered and fulfill certain conditions before plying in the roads and carrying passengers," Chakraborty said.
He said that there are High Court orders in this regard. A transport department official said most e-rickshaw owners and drivers have no official purchase documents and papers as these vehicles are locally assembled e-rickshaws and were not fit to get registrations.
Demanding allowing a month's time to register their vehicles, thousands of e-rickshaw owners and drivers have been agitating across the State since the police and transport department officials launched a drive against the unregistered e-rickshaws on Thursday. While talking to the media, Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Pinaki Samanta said the State government long back had asked the e-rickshaw owners and drivers to register their two-wheelers with the transport department latest by July 31 after extending the period twice.
Police and transport department officials have so far seized around 50 unregistered e-rickshaws while thousands of the two-wheelers remained off the roads since Friday. Various political parties and trade union bodies have also asked the Bharatiya Janata Party-led State government to resolve the issue at the earliest. (IANS)