Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

It’s cheaper: Dealers import rickshaw parts from China, assemble them here

New Delhi | Posted: March 20, 2014 3:18 am

By- Kartik Kumar & Suyash Gabriel

Despite a Delhi government order asking e-rickshaw dealers not to sell the vehicles before getting themselves registered, the sale of these rickshaws still continues in the city. Majority of the parts of these battery-operated rickshaws are reportedly being imported from China.

Most of the parts of e-rickshaws are imported from China and put together by local dealers in Delhi. The batteries, chargers and tyre-tubes used in the assembly of these vehicles are locally available, while the body, tyre controllers, motors and engines are imported from China, dealers said.

“We are not defaulting. There is a ban on production, but not on the sale of these e-rickshaws. Hence, we are not doing anything wrong by selling the product. We only assemble the parts here,” a cycle-rickshaw manufacturer turned e-rickshaw trader from West Delhi said.

Muhammad Feroz Alam, a trader in West Delhi, said, “Many of us (e-rickshaw traders) used to manufacture cycle-rickshaws, but when the government sanctioned the sale of e-rickshaws, we all switched trade. It soon became a profitable venture. There are very few producers of cycle-rickshaws in Delhi now. But after we switched trade, the government is now attempting to clamp down on the production of e-rickshaws.”

Importing of parts is seen as a more viable option for many traders due to its cost effectiveness. “If the entire production of e-rickshaw is done in India, than the price of an e-rickshaw would be around Rs 85,000-95,000. At present, these e-rickshaws are sold starting at Rs 55,000. For example, the controller of an e-rickshaw produced in India will cost around Rs 12,000, while the Chinese are able to produce it for Rs 2,000-3,000,” an engineer working at an electrical firm in Manesar said.

In addition, manufacturers also highlight the constant evolution of technology and parts manufactured in China, which are used in these vehicles, as a reason to import rather than produce them domestically. “Even if we manufacture here, the parts we make will be obsolete within a few months as Chinese manufacturers are constantly innovating new techniques of production. It makes more sense to import rather than to produce it here,” an e-rickshaw manufacturer in Jahangirpuri said.

(The reporters are students of EXIMS)

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