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Driving along the Basanti highway has virtually become a nightmare because of the proliferation of indigenously built public carriers popularly known as the Vano in South 24-Parganas. But that may soon be a thing of the past as properly designed e-rickshaws built by Lohia auto industries are going to be introduced in the area. The manufacturer is likely to have over two dozen dealers in West Bengal selling e-scooters, e-rickshaws and diesel auto rickshaws.
In the last few years, buyers have shown a keen interest in using e-vehicles of different kinds. There are already e-cars on the road and experts feel these are the future in metropolitan cities. A close friend who uses a battery operated four-wheeler, said that not only is the vehicle cost effective but also ideal for cities as parking is a breeze. The central government too has come up with schemes to back e-vehicle manufacturers as well as those who buy them. The Centre has formulated a new transport policy to support the industry.
E-rickshaws called Totos, manufactured in China have been introduced across India, West Bengal included, and incidents of clashes between auto-rickshaw and Toto drivers are often reported, with former believing they’re losing out because of the cheaper fares offered by the latter. Having travelled a number of times in Totos, I found the manufacturers hadn’t concentrated on the safety aspect of passengers.
The braking system is not strong and instances of them overturning have appeared in newspapers. Earlier, neither did they have registration numbers nor paid road tax. After the Centre amended the Motor Vehicles Act, now vehicles will have to be registered with the Road Transport Authority and drivers must carry valid driving licences. Moreover, the ministry of surface transport feels that using e-rickshaws will reduce pollution in metro cities to a large extent.
Mr Ayush Lohia, chief executive officer of Lohia auto industries said the e-rickshaws have been built with indigenous engineering techniques. They are more spacious and passenger safety has been given top most priority. The biggest advantage these vehicles will have is their greater accessibility in narrow lanes compared to auto rickshaws. The braking system is definitely powerful enough to avoid accidents. “This will be the choice of the next generation as people want less polluting vehicles now. With the Centre coming forward to back up manufacturers, the future of e-vehicles in India looks quite bright,” said the manufacturer.