Patna, (Bihar Times): Providing Samman (respect) with
the help of fabric-bodied rickshaw! This is what Irfan
Alam, the founder-director of the Samman Foundation, a
New Delhi-based NGO, is yearning for.
This 70-75 kilogrammes rickshaw is likely to hit the
roads of Bodh Gaya and Delhi simultaneously sometimes
in mid-summer of 2008. Weighing about 50-60 kilos
less than the conventional rickshaw it will have more
leg-room, space for luggage and the ride will be much
comfortable for the rickshawpullers as well as the
passengers. The wheels will be of mopeds and the
pedicab, as it is now being called, will have
cycle-gears, shock absorbers and power brakes. Low
height and radio-headphones are likely to attract the
passengers. Besides, there is Rs one lakh insurance
cover, both for the rickshaw-puller and passengers
traveling in it.
Though designed by a teacher of the Delhi School of
Architecture in association with students of the
Mechanical Engineering department of the Indian
Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and Indian Instittue
of Managerment, Ahmedabad, the rickshaw is the new
initiative of Irfan, who hails from Begusarai district
of north Bihar.
It will cost Rs 12,000 almost at par with the
conventional rickshaw and the Punjab National Bank is
ready to finance it.
This rickshaw can be used for the sale of recharge
coupons of the mobile phones, tetra-pack beverages,
mineral water bottles etc as well.
Irfan Alam, who has done his Management Development
Programme from IIM-Ahmed told a section of media that
this pedicab is on test in New Delhi. The Council of
Scientific and Industrial Research and Central
Mechanical Engineering Research Institute have given
the Foudnation the consent for producing such
Irfan said that the Samman Foundation had identified
three manufacturers in Patna and others in Begusarai,
Bhagalpur, Muzfaffarpur, Siwan and Darbhanga. Such
manufacturers have been identified in Jharkhand and
Uttar Pradesh as well. Micro-entrepreneurs are being
idenfitied in other states too.
The Samman’s target is one lakh rickshaw in 100 cities
by 2010. The margin money for the Rs 100 crore project
will come from the American India Foundation, an NGO.
The Samman Foundation will provide Research and
Development support and train local vendors. The new
rickshaw will change the very profile of the
rickshawpullers. There will be professionalism in
them and they will be motivated to saving habits.
Besides, efforts will be made to create health and
hygiene awareness among them. The Samman will also
work to educate the children of these rickshawpullers.