When he bought an e-rickshaw in April 2016, Sanjay Kumar (37) became a part of Delhi’s big push towards non-polluting electric vehicles. But the bigger picture hardly concerns the father of two, who operates at north Delhi’s Vidhan Sabha.
“Sarkar ne bola tha subsidy milega, lekin abhi tak mila nahi,” said Kumar, waiting outside the Metro station, minutes before Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia presented Delhi’s first ‘Green Budget’, marked by a push towards electric mobility.
Kumar, and other footsoldiers of the policy push, said they can do with the promised one-time subsidy amount of Rs 30,000. “It’s been 10 months but the money hasn’t reached my account,” Kumar said. But he is optimistic that the procedural delays are only temporary. Pritam, who also operates an e-rickshaw, said despite procuring a fitness certificate, he received only half the amount so far. “The government talks of promoting e-vehicles, but e-rickshaws are barred from operating in 236 routes… we are at the mercy of traffic police,” he said.
The Metro fare hike, they said, also hit business, as e-rickshaws rely heavily on traffic at Metro stations. “The number of commuters has gone down. We used to earn Rs 700 daily before the hike; now it has come down to Rs 400-500,” Kumar said. They also voiced concerns over the influx of ‘jugaad’ variants, such as cycle rickshaws fitted with batteries that flout all norms, don’t pay road tax or obtain fitness certificates.
While it remains to be seen how the e-vehicle push impacts them, Kumar and Pritam acknowledged that the government’s focus on education has improved the education their children get at the local government school.
“Sarkar ne kaafi kharcha kiya hai shiksha par, aur uska asar dikh raha hai,” they said.