The Tiny Things on Agra Roads that are Saving the Taj

These amazing e-rickshaws are eco friendly, do not require fuel and make no noise at all. And they are saving our beloved Taj! Time they were "Made in India"?

These amazing rickshaws are eco-friendly, do not require fuel and don’t create noise at all. Are these the next best things on Indian roads? Know all about the amazing mode of transportation that could have a huge impact on our environment.

It’s become a part of our lives. The dirt on our body is like a second skin, the pungent air is okay for us, and the noise? Oh! it’s music! With changing times, Indians have evolved – we have learnt to let it be, and sift through the dirt and dust as we go on with our lives.

There is a reason for all the hullabaloo Green Peace and NGOs are making: we are losing our fight against pollution and isn’t it obvious why – the fight against Australia in the World Cup semi-finals matters a lot more to us than saving a few trees around the neighborhood. May be we are too kanjoos to start anything, even for our own good.

But, not everyone’s pococurante – especially when there is some monetary benefit involved.

Welcome to the world of Electric Rickshaws! A small but growing breed of India’s iconic auto rickshaws – with a twist.

These rickshaws are eco friendly and do not create any noise.
These rickshaws are eco friendly and do not create any noise.

These rickshaws are basic, tiny and most importantly – tidy. They don’t pollute at all, and in a city like Delhi which has to it’s credit a long list of ‘most-polluted’ awards, these make enormous sense.

The government is taking baby steps in encouraging these rickshaws with a certain amount of subsidy and flexible regulations.

The rickshaws are smoothly running in Agra
The rickshaws are smoothly running in Agra

Remember, these were taken off the roads in Delhi due to a ban – lack of road transport regulation for these as our laws haven’t changed since the time the British left Luytens for our netas. But, as I traveled to Agra, I was surprised to see these little, super silent rickshaws running around town like ants on a cheese cake. Well, don’t blame them! The town itself is congested – and these are being used in order to save the Taj from all the pollution and tan, just like the lady in the fairness advertisement.

Whatever the reason, these lively little things made super-sense when I chatted with Iqbal, an owner-driver of one of these e-rickshaws in Agra.

These things cost a lakh and a half rupees, almost in the same ball park as your regular rickshaws, but here’s what makes them sensible and viable – there is absolutely no air pollution, no noise, very little maintenance (you just have to change the tires and batteries when they die) and they seat more passengers.

Very little maintenance is yet another USP
Very little maintenance is yet another USP

Iqbal had only one complaint – that these are mostly from China, the parts and all, and hence their replacements cost more.

During our conversation, he also questioned the invisible government regulator and the Indian auto-makers, and wondered why they cannot make these in India, 100% indigenous ones, that is.

The incredible rickshaws cost as much as a regular rickshaw.
The incredible rickshaws cost as much as a regular rickshaw.

It is of great concern for every Indian that our cities are getting increasingly polluted. We cannot cut down on certain things and have no control over the rest – I agree. But, this is one area where we can be proactive and change for the better, especially since these little things are viable. There’s nobody you’ll hurt – except for the traditional three-wheeler makers who don’t want to waste their old machines and upgrade. Let’s all rise for change!

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About the author: Tejaswi Bhagavatula is a Hyderabad-based writer, poet, painter, biker, photographer, corporate profile-writer, on-the-way-CA, part-time tax consultant – all to fund his passion for travelling! He wishes to work for change through bringing out stories and his dream is to ride to Ladakh on his dear old Bullet, while learning and writing about people he meets all along the way and someday, maybe make it a storybook.

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