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IIT comes to aid of rickshaw-pullers

Rickshaw-puller Haripada Das is a happy man these days driving his own specially-designed rickshaw, which is lighter and spacious and also has a cover on his head enabling him to drive under scorching sun or in rain.

india Updated: Oct 20, 2010 10:28 IST
PTI

Rickshaw-puller Haripada Das is a happy man these days driving his own specially-designed rickshaw, which is lighter and spacious and also has a cover on his head enabling him to drive under scorching sun or in rain.

The rickshaw, designed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, has proved a boon for Das, who till 2007 pulled a hired rickshaw paying Rs 25 as rent per day.

He is one of 300 such rickshaw-pullers in Agartala and many others in cities elsewhere in India, including Delhi and Lucknow, and their number is increasing.

"After I got the new vehicle from the Rickshaw Bank, I paid the same amount of Rs 25 to the bank every day and after one year I became the owner of the vehicle," Das said.

The new vehicle, Das says, is much easier to drive because it is at least 20 per cent lighter than other three-wheeler rickshaws.

The rickshaw, imaginatively named 'Deep Bahan', is the brain child of Dr Pradip Sharma, a veterinarian surgeon-turned -social activist, who contacted the IIT, Guwahati with his idea.

Guwahati-based Sharmah, who visited the city recenly, said that he was pained by the penury of the rickshaw-pullers who had to give away 20 per cent of their hard-earned daily wages to the rickshaw-owners.

"In 2002, I gathered from a rickshaw-puller that his daily income averaged Rs 100 out of which Rs 25 had to be paid to rickshaw-owners by way of rent and that he has been hiring the rickshaw for the last 16 years," he said.

So, the amount he paid to the owner was at least 16 times more than the real cost of the vehicle," Sharma said.

First Published: Oct 20, 2010 10:21 IST