More than 20% auto permit seekers fail Marathi test
How can you fail the drivers who have been working in the city for more than 15 to 20 years for absurd reasons? SHASHANK RAO, president of Mumbai Autorickshaw-taximen Association
MUMBAI: Not being well-versed in the Marathi language is proving to be an impediment for several autorickshaw drivers seeking permits in Mumbai and Thane. Reason: More than 20% of the drivers who appeared for a compulsory Marathi language test on Saturday and Sunday at two RTO offices in the city did not pass.
Autorickshaw unions have opposed the test calling it a political gimmick by transport minister and Shiv Sena leader Diwakar Raote.
At the Wadala RTO office, of the 1,327 candidates who appeared for the language test over a course of two days, 334 failed. In Thane, 202 of the 1,077 applicants failed. In all, 536 or 22.3% of the 2,404 candidates who appeared for the test have failed.
The transport department had invited applications for 35,628 auto permits to be distributed in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). The government had announced a lucky draw last month, which has followed by the language tests that began on February 27, on Marathi Language Day. Raote had said there would be no compromise on this front and the officers found guilty of leniency or corruption would face strict action.
The autorickshaw drivers and unions plan to protest against the test. “When the government has lowered the educational qualification for the permit, how can it stress on thorough knowledge of the language. How can you fail the drivers who have been working in the city for more than 15 to 20 years for absurd reasons? The drivers have basic and practical knowledge of the language,” said Shashank Rao, president of Mumbai Autorickshaw-taximen Association.