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E-Rickshaws - Why does AAP stand with them?

Image Source: TheHindu

E-Rickshaw

E-Rickshaws is a term used to describe battery operated rickshaws that ply in cities. 

So? What's the big deal?

Here is why E-Rickshaws are important. Their advantages range from economics, efficiency and most importantly, environmental friendliness. 

1. Being battery operated, they produce no pollutants and hence are very eco-friendly. 

2. Cost effective for passengers

3. They reduce the country’s dependance of foreign oil and hence the ability to reduce the oil import burden of the country. 

4. Has one of the highest passenger to vehicle size ratio. This means, that is congested cities, these E-Rickshwas can become the most effective mode of public transport

5. Since they are relatively inexpensive, lots of people can be incentivised to own & operate these. They thus provide for a strong case of public/private cooperation in the area of public transport. They thus can provide a viable source of livelihood for thousands of people. 

What went wrong? Why did they go out of favour? 

1. E-Rickshaw’s are un-regulated. As a result, there are no checks & balances to ensure who owns & operates them

2. Lack of clear policy by the Govt. has resulted in dilution of safety & operational concerns. 

Ok, so what needs to be done? 

1. Formulate a clear policy & standards for ownership, operation & safety. Enforce them just as they are enforced for any other public transport mode. 

2. Study the recommendations from TERI (The Energy and Research Insitute) to formulate the above policy and learn lessons from Tripura where Tripura Battery Operated Rickshaws Rules 2014 have been formulated as a model for state regulation. We have a working model in our own country, why not learn from it & improve upon it? 

What should NOT be have been done? 

1. Ignore them. 

2. Foster misconceptions about them. They present significant advantages, both in terms of cost & environment, to our public transport. 

3. Let them remain banned because the Govt. Bureaucracy cannot work quickly enough to provide credible & safe policies & guidelines 

Unfortunately, the current Govt. has not taken any decisive steps in this direction. As a result, these e-rickshaws continue to remain banned and the city continues to remain deprived of their benefits. Next time you complain of the traffic pollution, think about how e-rickshaws could have helped. The govt. simply refuses to act. This is exactly what AAP has been demanding. 

Aam Aadmi Party respects the court’s order to ban them in the absence of any clear policy or regulation. It believes that the solution, therefore, lies in framing clear, practical policies for e_Rickshaws so that the court can lift the ban on these. AAP wants to restore the livelihood of thousands of people who are have been rendered jobless because of Govt. action. It also wants e-Rickshaws to become a safe, efficient and most importantly, an environment friendly mechanism of public transport. 

 

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