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Sheila launches rickshaws which double as ‘home’ for pullers

Bed On Wheeks These vehicles come with a bed,bulb,fan,mosquito net and mobile phone charger that runs on solar energy.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: October 24, 2012 1:04 am

Bed On Wheeks These vehicles come with a bed,bulb,fan,mosquito net and mobile phone charger that runs on solar energy.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday launched “convertible rickshaws”,which will double as a night shelter for homeless pullers.

Other than a full-fledged bed,the new model boasts an electric bulb,a fan and even a mobile phone charger that runs on solar energy.

After launching the new model,dubbed Sukun,Dikshit said the initiative — by Mother NGO for Homeless — would go a long way in helping homeless rickshaw pullers.

“This innovation would go a long way in putting an end to the ongoing practice of rickshaw pullers spending nights on footpaths and road dividers across the city,” Dikshit said.

Smriti,the project manager of Mother-NGO,said the convertible rickshaw would cost around Rs 15,000 to Rs 16,000.

“The standard model rickshaw costs Rs 10,000,but this model has new features and the cost also includes public provident fund (PPF) accounts and medical insurance for the rickshaw pullers,” she said.

Smriti said the model was fitted with a bulb and small fan,a mosquito net,a storage shelf for essential items and a solar-powered battery.

An official said the government would explore possibilities for granting incentives to make these rickshaws more affordable.

The rickshaws have been launched under a micro-financing scheme. “The rickshaws pullers would have to pay a daily instalment of Rs 50,” Smriti said.

The model was conceived and designed by the students and faculty members of St Stephen’s College.

Figures with the NGO show that there are at least three lakh rickshaw pullers in Delhi,more than 10 per cent of whom are homeless.

“Homeless rickshaw pullers end up sleeping on the roads or on footpaths and suffer spinal and other medical problems. We came up with the idea after a series of discussions with them,” Smriti said.

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