Thursday, July 14, 2011

MIT students to do a study on ‘dial-a-rickshaw’

Raakhi Jagga
Ludhiana : The concept of dial-a-rickshaw introduced by the Graduates Welfare Association of Fazilka(GWAF) has become popular in not only Punjab, but also among the team members of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA. In order to understand this concept and to do a study on this traditional mode of transport in Asian countries, a team led by Albert Ching reached Delhi today.

Albert will be arriving in Chandigarh tomorrow. The team will go to Patiala on April 15 and Fazkila and Ludhiana on April 16. Albert is doing a doctorate on this rickshaws from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Navdeep Asija, Secretary of Administration, GWAF said, "In Fazilka, with the help of BSNL, we now have 900 cell phones with GSM facility, which are to be given to rickshaw pullers where masses can call for hiring a rickshaw.Earlier the numbers of nearest tea stall owners at rickshaw stands were given, which was not very successful."

He added, "In Patiala, one call centre is already operational for the dial-a-rickshaw concept but only 50 rickshaw pullers are under this network as of now."
Ludhiana-based Safari Bikes is manufacturing these lightweight ecocabs, which are being given on a 4% flat rate of interest to rickshaw pullers.Albert will be seeing the manufacturing technique in Ludhiana, while in Fazilka he will study the pattern of dial-a-rickshaw and the research and development centre being run by Bhupinder Singh, a member of GWAF.

According to Albert, "Road infrastructure has not improved as much the way cars and other heavy vehicles have come on Indian roads. There is a high need to restore this traditional system of transport in the country and it is indeed a delight that a rickshaw can also come by dialling a phone. I am excited to visit Punjab to see the environment-friendly vehicle on roads and the methods being adopted to make it more popular."

According to a data, 3 lakh families in Punjab earn livelihood through rickshaws. GWAF will also be giving books, school fees and uniforms to ecocab drivers, whose daughters are studying in Class XI and XII on July 17 to encourage higher education of girls.

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