Monday, June 20, 2011

Lightweight rickshaws loaned to pullers - Ludhiana Ecocabs

Raakhi Jagga, Indian Express, 19th June 2011

In an attempt to revive the declining number of rickshaws in the city, the administration has given newly designed Eco-cabs on loan to 20 rickshaw pullers today. A target of 1000 is to be achieved in 2 months.

The original intiative of this project was taken by Fazilka based NGO 'Graduates Welfare Association of Fazilka' (GWAF) and in Ludhiana this design has been made by Safari bikes.

Jarnail Singh, one of the rickshaw pullers said, "This rickshaw is 75 kg only as opposed to the 95kg of old model rickshaw. But it cannot carry more luggage. Still it seems to be more attractive. Lets hope for more clients."

There are only 35,000 rickshaws in the city today as opposed to 50,000 two years ago. The reasons for the decline are heavy traffic on roads and other means of transport.

KS Grewal, lead bank manager Punjab and Sind Bank(PSB) said, "We are giving a loan at 4% flat rate with identification proof and also proof of registration number in MC records. Earlier they were not being given this facility. The rickshaw is priced at Rs 9300 which is Rs 1500 costlier than the old model, but the manufacturers claim that has many facilities as well. We are giving them awareness to follow shorter routes to earn more money rather than going on busy roads where rickshaw pulling is difficult. Their numbers are reducing due to no safe place for rickshaw pullers on choked roads."

So they have been advised to make their presence in the congested areas of the city."

The bank has also asked the MC to advertise on one portion of rickshaw through the advertising contractors and that money should be kept as a deposit for bank. Grewal said, "In case the rickshaw pullers fail to return loans, that money will act as a security for us."

Tilak Raj and Mukesh Kumar from District Industries Department were also seen motivating the rickshaw pullers to buy the new model.

The rickshaws also have place for keeping a radio where FM stations can be played and it can be a good entertainment for the client. It can thus be named as 'radio rickshaw', said Sham Lal one of the rickshaw pullers.

Meanwhile GWAF has also proposed to make attractive shelters at the designated MC rickshaw stands and even proposed for tea and water for the pullers. But they have asked the MC authorities to free the stands from encroachments.

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