Whether a car or bike, your vehicle is probably the first and the last thing you touch while stepping outside for groceries or other essential work. Here's where Swacch Vahan comes in.
When co-founders of Bengaluru-based Ontrack, a bike rental company, Harshit Sonthalia and Vansh Jain started sanitising their company bikes, they couldn’t help but think of the hundreds of vehicles on the roads.
Whether a car or bike, the vehicle is probably the first and the last thing an owner touches while stepping outside for groceries or other essential work.
Unsure if owners sanitise their vehicles regularly, the duo decided to offer free sanitisation services at petrol bunks in some parts of the city.
“Being a bike rental company, we have to sanitise each two-wheeler before and after every use. That led us to think about how people must be managing. The global pandemic has put all of us through testing times, and maintaining basic hygiene should be our priority. We already had sanitising machines for our company use, so we decided to procure more,” Harshit tells The Better India.
The company uses a bio-organic certified disinfectant Multiplex Shuddi. It has been approved by the Institute for Industrial Research and Toxicology and is safe for humans, animals, and the environment.
The duo approached Indian Oil Corporation Limited for permission and managed to get access to 40 petrol pumps, including the ones at Koramangala, Indiranagar, HSR Layout, Marathahalli, and Bellandur.
So, if you live in Bengaluru, head to any of these locations to get your vehicle sanitised for free.
For a two-wheeler, the owner has to step away from the vehicle. Meanwhile, a car owner can remain seated inside during the cleaning process, “It takes 30 seconds for a bike and up to two minutes for a car to get sanitised,” adds Harshit.
The sanitising machines, each costing up to Rs 3,000, are kept at petrol pumps on a rotational basis. If a petrol pump does not get more than 500 vehicles daily, the machine is shifted to another pump.
What makes this initiative noble is that the organisation has hired workers who lost their jobs during the lockdown.
“We have hired around 30 workers, and each of them earns up to Rs 500 daily. We have provided personal protective gear, including face masks, shields, and gloves. Each of them is trained such that they don’t come in contact with the owner and the vehicle, except when they wipe a few areas of the vehicle,” shares Harshit.
Madan is one of the thousands who have suffered repercussions of the lockdown by losing his job, “I used to be a Maintenance Engineer at an IT firm. I lost my job, and nobody is hiring right now. Here, at Swacch Vahan, I get paid daily and can sustain myself more easily. I am also glad that I can help people at a difficult time with this service,” he tells The Better India.
In the 15 days that Ontrack started this service, they have sanitised around 18,000 vehicles.
Here’s the list of petrol pumps where Ontrack is serviceable:
1. 80 ft Main Road, KHB Village Games, Koramangala
2. Old Madras Road/Swami Vivekananda Road, Indiranagar
3. Opp CCD, Jeevan Bhima Nagar, Indiranagar
4. Sector 4, HSR Layout Ring Road
5. Sector 2, HSR Layout
6. HAL – Varthur Road, Marathahalli
7. Palm Ave, Green Glen Layout, Bellandur
8. 5th Cross, Vijaya Bank Layout, Bilekahalli, Vijaya Bank Layout
Want This Service In Your City Too? Here’s What You Can Do
Harshit is more than happy to assist people if they want to replicate this project in their cities.
“The best part about initiating Swacch Vahan is the cost-effectiveness. With the capacity to store nearly 500 litres of sanitiser, each machine costs around Rs 3,000 and can sanitise up to 2,500 vehicles every day. This means that we spend anything between Rs 10-15 per vehicle, including the labour charges. Despite the low cost, people have been kind enough to drop in money in our contribution. So, our project is sustaining on its own.”
He adds that the machine can be procured from any agriculture hardware store.
If you wish to undertake the vehicle sanitisation service, get in touch with Ontrack at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: The sanitisation service works just like a sanitiser, i.e., it can prevent viruses but is not meant to be treated as a treatment against any disease or illness.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)