A Green Solution to the Urban Transport System
Rickshaw pullers in the city may soon join the green brigade. With a view to promote clean energy transport, the state government is exploring the feasibility of promoting solar-fuelled rickshaws in Bhubaneswar, which can drive up to a speed of 35 km per hour.
The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has invited CSIR-recognized dealer HBL Power System Ltd and its strategic partner Prabhadeep Industries Limited to show a demonstration of the vehicle on November 30. “We have heard of the solar rickshaw becoming popular in Delhi, Chandigarh and some other cities. If the vehicle has green features, we will also promote it in Bhubaneswar,” BMC mayor A N Jena told TOI.
The rickshaw, which can be driven by solar-powered battery, can carry nearly 250 kg of load. “Solar energy apart, the battery can also be charged by electricity. When the battery backup goes out, the driver can use the pedal,” said HBL vice-president (Odisha and Chhatisgarh markets) Sanjay Parija.
“The tricycle is used for commuting small to medium distance. In Delhi and other places, the concerned state government has been providing subsidy to poor rickshaw pullers to purchase the vehicle,” said Anand Parija, a functionary of Prabhadeep Industries. “We would urge the BMC and transport department to help rickshaw pullers purchase the eco-friendly tricycle through subsidy,” Parija said. The price of the two-seater Soleckshaw, which is manufactured in different models, starts from Rs 70,000. Apart from ferrying passengers, the tricycle can be used to transport goods and garbage.
Rickshaw, which until a few years ago was a major medium of public transport in Bhubaneswar, has almost vanished from the streets after being outnumbered by auto-rickshaws and city buses. Only around 150 rickshaws are now available at railway station. “We face difficulty to pull the rickshaw due to heavy traffic on roads. Our service is only required in early morning and late night,” said Sanatan Naik, a rickshaw puller. “We will feel dignified to raise the accelerator of Soleckshaw. People will not look down upon us. But the government should provide us subsidy to afford the rickshaw,” he added.
Source: Times of India