E-rickshaws taking over NepalgunjSahajad Ali of Khujurakhurda drives an electric rickshaw on Dhambojhi-Nepalgunj route. He gave up his cycle rickshaw and switched to e-rickshaw not long ago.
Sahajad Ali of Khujurakhurda drives an electric rickshaw on Dhambojhi-Nepalgunj route. He gave up his cycle rickshaw and switched to e-rickshaw not long ago.
“These days I earn more and serve more people at one time,” Ali says.
Unlike two-seater cycle rickshaw, an e-rickshaw can accommodate seven passengers at a time. And it runs on battery which means no queuing up at petrol stations to fill the tank.
“I charge the battery at night and it lasts an entire day. I don’t have to worry if there is a shortage of fuel,” Ali says. “The best thing is I don’t have to waste my energy pedalling under scorching sun.”
For e-rickshaw drivers like Ali, the banda enforced by the Samyukta Tharuhat Madhes Struggle Committee in Banke district became a blessing in disguise. Since the banda supporters prohibited the fuel-run vehicles from plying the streets, cycle rickshaws and e-rickshaws became the only modes of public transport.
Bablu Hasmi, another e-rickshaw driver, made up to five trips from Nepalgunj to Rupaidiha during the banda.
“I make a daily income of Rs 500 for myself and pay Rs 700 to the person who owns the rickshaw,” Hasmi says.
Sale of e-rickshaws in Nepalgunj has increased dramatically in the recent times, say local traders. Around 1,000 e-rickshaws were sold in the last five months alone.