In the wake of two-wheeler sales plunging across the state, the West Bengal government has now decided to review rules relating to the obtaining of license and sale of two-wheelers. Any further amendments to the policy are likely to be notified post discussion which is scheduled in January.
Notably, the government had issued a "stringent" notification in June this year which resulted in the sales of scooter and motor-cycle falling sharply. The subsequent relaxations made given by the State government failed to lift the customer's sentiment as the two-wheeler sales failed to pick up the pace.
BP Gopalika, Principal Secretary in-charge of the West Bengal Transport Department, told The Hindu Business Line that "we will review the two-wheeler sale policy in January. The date of the meeting is yet to be decided."
Interestingly, the policy change introduced in June barred sale and registration of two-wheelers in the name of people without driving licences. As per the rules, two-wheeler buyers had to get their identity verified as well.
The state government officials argued that the objective of the move was to bring down the accidents. But, the doubts over how a person would obtain a licence without owning a bike remained.
Notably, West Bengal does not have any two-wheelers only driving schools. The policy change came as a shock for the two-wheeler industry as the sales slumped by more than 60 per cent, especially during the festive season. Prior to the policy, West Bengal has registered a sale of one lakh two-wheelers on monthly basis.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) challenged the advisory in a petition to the Calcutta High Court after which Justice Harish Tandon partially stayed the government notification that prohibited sale (of two-wheelers) without a driving licence. Post that the state government relaxed the norms twice which resulted in "some improvement" in sales.
One of the two-wheeler dealers said that "People have delayed purchases and are waiting for more clarity on the rules. Compared to the August-September period when sales dropped drastically, numbers are now picking up."