More than 20% auto per­mit seek­ers fail Marathi test

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - METRO - HT Cor­re­spon­dent

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.

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