Jamshedpur: Aimed at enabling safer streets for women as well as uplifting their economic condition, a fleet of e-rickshaws have started zooming on the roads of Jamshedpur.
A city-based social outfit Roshni Swayam Sevi Sanstha has launched e-rickshaws driven by women who want to do something challenging in life. The idea is to provide self- employment women.
The pink e-rickshaws were recently launched by Roshni Swayam Sevi Sanstha and Rotarians like Smita Parikh. The cost of each e-rickshaw is Rs 1.95 lakh. The lithium battery powered e-rickshaw was bought on a loan from the bank. However, about 25 per cent of the cost of the rickshaws was supported by the Rotary Club of Jamshedpur Steel City.
“At present about seven such e-rickshaws is plying the road and the response is overwhelming. The services are being provided from Sakchi to Baridih and Sakchi to Mango. While, on every Sunday it is available at Jubilee Park. It is our initiative to promote women empowerment in the city. The rickshaws aren’t for only ladies. It is pink because the drivers are women. The drivers mostly prefer ladies or women accompanied with their husbands,” said general secretary of Roshni Swayam Sevi Sanstha, Radha Singh.
At first survey of over 600 women from various locations of Jamshedpur was done of which 30 women showed interest and 20 women were selected in the first phase. They were imparted one month training and their license was also made available. Six women were directly provided jobs of running two pink autos.
Auto drivers Puja Sandil, Nibha Kumari, Sumita Devia, Pyari Roz Mary, Savita Kerai, Neelam Devi, Pushpa Toppo are running the pink vehicles.
Rotarian and hotelier Smita Parikh, who played key role in the project said: “When women can run the country, be business barons and take important decisions they can also drive an auto to ferry passengers and earn a decent living”.
Parikh added that it gives them a sense of independence and an opportunity to show that they can match steps with the rest. There is a smile on their faces.
The most important outcome of the initiative, however, has been their economic independence. Women, who otherwise had no control over family finances or financial decisions of the family, are finally earning money that they see as their own.
“I can now spend on my children,” says one of the drivers. “I love driving the rickshaw and sometimes talking to foreign tourists. It’s something I never imagined I would do,” she noted.
Radha Singh further informed that the idea is to launch about 100 such e-rickshaws in next two years so that it can help women earn a decent living. The e-rickshaws commute only by 7 PM to ensure safety of the drivers.