E-rickshaws, initiated by former CM Sheila Dixit around the time of the Commonwealth Games, have been flourishing ever since. Be it Delhi University’s North Campus or outside metro stations all around the city, the e-rickshaw is what stands out amongst the rickshaw lot. E-rickshaws, due to their fixed, convenient cost of rupees 10 per person and by virtue of being faster than their non-electronic counterparts, have been a favored option.
However, with rising prices, the e-rickshaw drivers have been soaring their prices to up to Rs.30 making them unattractive to commuters who would rather take an auto for the same cost. In addition to this is the question of safety in these “eco-friendly” vehicles. Although fit to be included in the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 due to its battery of up to 650 watt, these light weight, open rickshaws are not only excluded from many legal implications but are neglected to the extent that they do not even possess a number plate, neither are they registered.
As a result, it is almost impossible to even register an FIR in case of an accident which seems very likely as the drivers are mostly inexperienced, non-licensed profit-seekers who ferry an overload of people in the vehicle meant for four. Furthermore, they refrain from spending on battery maintenance which makes these rickshaws even more prone to fatal accidents.
Amidst allegations from the Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT) and the NDA government’s effort to keep its promise of legalizing them, e-rickshaws have become subject to a ban and await a final decision from the High Court. In my opinion, this ‘humane’ alternative to manually pulled rickshaws can become the star of ‘extra-mile’ transport if systematically regulated by the government.
Image source: www.thehindu.com
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