Auto-rickshaw drivers in the city have decided to contribute their bit to make life easier in the searing summer. About 50 auto-rickshaw drivers have equipped their vehicles with water bags with a capacity of 5-6 litres and a glass so that they can offer to quench thirst of the passengers or passers-by.
The initiative, by autorickshaw union Rickshaw Panchayat, was kicked off earlier this week by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sarang Awad.
Nitin Pawar, convenor of the Rickshaw Panchayat, said, “Rickshaw drivers in Pune have often involved themselves in many social causes. Newspaper stands at rickshaw points, providing prasad at the time of major festivals, giving away food to warkaris during annual dindi are some of them. Taking ahead the same commitment, we have started this new initiative by equipping 50 autorickshaws with water bags which will offer cool water to people. Depending on the response, we will expand it to cover more auto-rickshaws.”
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The decision was taken by the union in view of the water scarcity situation in Pune and searing heat this summer.
To help people identify autorickshaws with such bags, a ‘Phirti Panpoi’ (Travelling Water Tank) sticker has been put on each of these rickshaws.
Rickshaw drivers say that response has been encouraging. “It’s been five days since we installed these bags. The response is good. Most people who approach us for water are acquaintances and fellow rickshaw drivers. One in five passengers also ask for water,” said Siddharth Chavan, an auto-rickshaw driver.
“I ferry kids to school in the morning. Quite a few of them ask for water while returning home from school,” said Chavan.