While, the city’s first radio auto-rickshaw service, ‘Tuk Tuk’ is on the verge of extinction, a new e-rickshaw service by the name of ‘Ruk Ruk’, is creeping into the city.
Initially started as a means to connect the two most visited tourist spots, Sukhna Lake and Rock Garden, these battery-operated, four-seater, red and blue coloured rickshaws are now plying on the city’s arterial roads.
A private trader from the city, Naveen Garg, who named these e-rickshaws as ‘Ruk Ruk’ had brought as many as 28 e-rickshaws from Delhi in March, this year and since then he has managed to sell 12 e-rickshaws, while rest of them are yet to be sold.
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Talking about the advantages of the e-rickshaws, Garg said, “These rickshaws do not need any diesel, petrol, LPG or CNG. The e-rickshaws are zero emission means of transport for passengers and are equipped with a different design and superficial technical features with an easy drive, as there is no clutch or gear attached to it and the rickshaw pullers do not even require a driving licence.”
Incidently, the Delhi transport department had earlier issued a ban on further sale of 250 volt e-rickshaws as they were not covered by any Act or policy and the then transport minister Ramakant Goswami viewed e-rickshaws above 250 volts ‘as an auto-rickshaw’ declaring them unsafe. According to these rules, three wheeler vehicles with motor power less than 250W and speed less than 25 kmph were regarded as non-motorised vehicles, but the amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act through the April 24 notification had withdrawn this exemption.
The body, tyre controllers, motors and engines of the e-rickshaw are imported from Chinese states like Shandong, Jiangsu Zheijiang and Henan. The trader informed that one e-rickshaw costs around Rs 90,000 to 1 lakh.
The e-rickshaws require eight-hours of the charging, after which it could run for around 80-100 km/per hour. The rickshaw-pullers in the city, at present, are managing to charge their rickshaws at their homes only, for there is no central charging point for the time being.
Garg has already written to STA, Transport Secretary and Municipal Corporation, for a permission to officially launch battery powered electric tricycle in the city but no permission has been given yet. Before bringing the e-rickshaws in the city, Garg had filed an RTI to seek information that if the e-rickshaws comes under the MC’s jurisdiction and what are the policy guidelines for plying the e-tricycle and if anybody had applied for a permission to run a rickshaw. In response to the RTI, MC officials wrote, “Municipal Corporation does not have any Bye-Laws regarding battery powered electric tricycle. Hence, this information is not available.”
Meanwhile, MC Commissioner, Vivek Pratap Singh said, “Since, these rickshaws are electrically operated, they do not fall under the category of Motor Vehicles Act, which is why, it does not come under the ambit of Municipal Corporation. Though, a proposal to launch battery powered rickshaws was mooted by my predecessors but then nothing got materialised. They wanted to go through the Delhi High Court verdict on the same.”
Garg said that if the transport department sets certain guidelines for them and gives them registration, he will bring in 57 more such rickshaws and will begin a call-in service.
(with inputs from Kartik Kumar)