AS THE countdown to the civic elections begins, political parties are leaving no stone unturned in providing new initiatives for residents of the city.
Residents of Aundh, Baner and Balewadi are now being treated to e-autorickshaw rides sponsored by the BJP and MNS. While the politicians are hopeful that it will help them in garnering votes, the residents are not complaining as they are able to move short distances without haggling at Rs 10 per ride.
Nana Walke, MNS leader from the Aundh, started his e-rickshaw service around 10 days ago. Ten such rickshaws now ply Aundh Baner and Balewadi stretch. “The autorickshaws refuse to ply shorter distances in the area or ask for exorbitant rates. While this area has seen a lot of development public transport, for shorter distances, commuting has been a challenge,” said Walke. He said the service was started to address this need. “These being electric vehicles do not cause any pollution,” he said.
Each vehicle can ply for seven hours on a single charge and are run by local unemployed youths. The vehicles ply from 7am to 2 pm and from 5 pm to 9 pm. “The vehicles are charged in the afternoon and they again ply in the evening,” he said. The maximum speed these vehicles can travel is 25 km per hour and do not require any permissions from the RTO. Also, drivers are not required to have badges to drive these e-vehicles. The services also have pre-booking facility, he added.
While Walke recently started the service, BJP leader Madhukar Musale had started the service almost one-and-half years back. Musale said five such vehicles are plying on the road and providing concessional service to the residents of the area. “I had got the vehicles from Delhi and plan to increase the fleet soon,” he said. Musale said he has also spoken to the local BJP MP and MLA about procuring more such vehicles from the local area development funds also.
Aundh, Baner and Balewadi happen to be the portion of the city selected to be developed as a model for the Smart City projects.