The industrial town of Durgapur, known for its pollution is seeing the emergence of a new kind of eco-friendly vehicle being used in public transport. Appearances of battery-operated rickshaws (e-rickshaw) are all set to give some respite to the citizens of Durgapur where the level of environment pollution is already high.
More interestingly, this battery-operated rickshaw has been developed taking cue from the solar auto rickshaw (named SOLECKSHAW) that has been designed, and developed by CSIR-CMERI (Council of Industrial and Scientific Research – Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute) at Durgapur. However unlike the SOLECKSHAW, these new breeds of battery-operated rickshaw are charged from normal electric plug points.
These battery-operated rickshaws are already running successfully in several of Indian cities like Delhi, Agra, Ajmer, Kolkata, Jaipur, Gurgaon, Faridabad and quite a few others.
These three-wheeled vehicles have “captured” the market within three months of their launch and have already acquired “most favoured” status, with commuters. The biggest advantage of this e-rickshaw is that it is pollution-free and with zero emission. It can carry around four-five passengers and the engine produces no sound.
Zafar Faridi, chief executive officer of Dianzi Enterprises, the company that introduced this e-rickshaw said, “After seeing them running in other states, we got the idea to launch e-rickshaws in West Bengal. They are not only economical as compared to other vehicles but are also nature-friendly.”
These e-rickshaws are available in a price range of Rs 1-1.25 lakh, depending on the model chosen. The vehicle consumes just three units of power to get fully charged at a nominal cost of Rs 30 with which it can cover 80 km of distance. The maximum attainable speed of this vehicle is around 15 Km per hour.
Meanwhile, the surge in the numbers of this e-rickshaw has eaten away the markets of other public vehicle operators. The most adversely hit, however, are auto-drivers, who are in direct competition with the e-rickshaws. Several of them who ply in various routes within the Durgapur town fears that their business will suffer badly in coming days.
But despite their popularity in so short a span of time, these e-rickshaws are yet to be registered. They are being run without any number plates or licences, which could prove hazardous in the event of accidents.
Durgapur residents say the e-rickshaws have come as a relief because they were regularly heckled by the auto-drivers.