Beneficiaries still await the distribution of 1,000 e-rickshaws that Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised for Gurgaon under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana about a month ago.
At the ‘Stand Up India’ event held in Noida on April 5, Modi had announced the distribution of 5,100 e-rickshaws for Delhi-NCR, of which 1,000 were for people from underprivileged sections in Gurgaon. The cost of these e-rickshaws can be paid in instalments. The e-rickshaws were to ply at Rs 10 per passenger and move on fixed routes.
A Regional Transport Authority (RTA) official said that Bhartiya Micro Credit (BMC) has to distribute the promised e-rickshaws in Gurgaon. The e-rickshaws were to be linked with cab aggregator Ola’s mobile app. However, the plan seems to be only on paper as the 1,000 promised e-rickshaws have not even been transported to the city.
“The BMC was to provide 1,000 rickshaws to the city and help in phasing out cycle rickshaws, but the plan has not taken off. Less than 100 people have applied for a commercial licence to drive e-rickshaws. There are a number of factors acting as a hurdle, one of them being the high price of rickshaws sold by city distributors,” an RTA official said requesting anonymity.
Now, there are only two e-rickshaw distributors in the city, which, the RTA official claims, sell the vehicle at a high price. However, with no e-rickshaws distributed by BMC, the potential drivers are discouraged to apply for licence, the official said.
“The city needs economic options for last-mile connectivity, especially around the metro stations. The RTA is trying to spread awareness about the benefits of e-rickshaws. But, e-rickshaws have had only 20% of the expected growth in the city,” the official said.
The government was to introduce 5,00 e-rickshaws on city roads by march-end.
A BMC said that distribution of e-rickshaws will start by next month.
“The BMC will start distributing the 1,000 e-rickshaws in Gurgaon soon. We are aiming at supplying the entire lot of rickshaws by June-end,” Vijay Pandey, managing director of BMC, said
Cycle rickshaw pullers said if the government provides training and subsidy on the price of vehicles, and sets up recharge booths, cycle rickshaws can be replaced.
“We do not want to pull the rickshaw in such extreme weather conditions but the government needs to give us subsidy to buy e-rickshaws. The community cannot afford to spend Rs 1.5 lakh in one go,” Satish Kumar, a cycle rickshaw puller, said.