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Solar rickshaws make debut on IIT-Delhi campus
Times of India
Central Electronics Limited (CEL), a central government enterprise has decided to give these vehicles to the rickshaw-pullers at IIT Delhi under a corporate social responsibility initiative.

Ritam Halder | TNN | Updated: Jul 20, 2019, 6:18 IST

NEW DELHI: Suresh Kumar has been pedalling people at IIT-Delhi since 2002. But now a solar-powered hybrid rickshaw will make his job less burdensome.

Central Electronics Limited (CEL), a central government enterprise that has decided to give these vehicles to the rickshaw-pullers at IIT Delhi under a corporate social responsibility initiative, handed over 10 such rickshaws, which will ply on the campus.

CEL has designed and manufactured specialised 300-Watt solar panels to be used as the roof of the rickshaws. “These panels, charging throughout the day, will effectively double the distance that the rickshaws can cover in a day. Hence, it will not only reduce the physical effort of the rickshaw pullers but also help them earn more,” an official said.

IIT director Ram Gopal Rao called it an instance of technology, tradition and empathy coming together for a social cause. “This innovation combines traditional knowledge and modern technology to create harmony among the environment, employment needs and convenience.”

He added that though people used to feel bad about the toil of the rickshaw pullers, “our point was if you ask them to stop what will happen to their livelihoods”. Calling it a “good beginning”, he said these rickshaw pullers had been operating inside IIT since 2002-03. “We are already using rooftop solar power as we produce 2MW of electricity.”

“The solar hybrid system supports rickshaw puller during acceleration and tough rides, making the job humane,” said Dr Amod Kumar of Sukoon Solutions, which is making the rickshaws. Kamlesh Kumar (45), who is from UP, agrees. “Help ho jayega, pressure kam parega,” the rickshaw puller said with a smile.

While 10-15km per hour is the ideal speed, the imported motors from China will let the vehicles reach up to 25km, said the manufacturers. While an e-rickshaw costs around Rs 1.25 lakh, a hybrid vehicle is priced Rs 68,000.

However, these vehicles can ply only inside the campus. “These hybrid rickshaws can’t be registered under the motor vehicles act. Earlier, we tried plying 150 of these at Sahibabad, Ghaziabad. But police used to challan them. We hope to see a policy change after this move,” Kumar said.

Source: Times of India

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