Punjab: Dial-a-rick for a green environment

Posted on 12th June 2008 in IBN-CNN

IBN-CNN, Jyoti Kamal,12 June 2008

Bhatinda (Punjab): For Sunita, a housewife in Fazilka, it was earlier quite a long walk before she could get a rickshaw to go to the market. However, these days, all she has to do is pick up her phone and call for one and a chauffered cycle rickshaw is at her doorstep in minutes.

"The walk to a cycle rickshaw stand was long and tiring earlier, but now it's very convenient. I simply call the rickshaw stand and the rickshaw man comes home. My trip back home is also taken care of this way, with nominal rates," says she.

Dial-a-rickshaw is a simple facility, brought together by some keen minds - former IIT Roorkee professor Bhupinder Singh, a local NGO called Graduate Welfare Association of Fazilka (GWAF) and Czech Republic-based World Car Free Network.

Bhupinder Singh believes this innovation is also Fazilka's answer to preventing global warming.

"Our town is inhabited by very intelligent people who are agreeable to the latest activities that will help prevent global warming," says Singh.

The system has also made life much easier for rickshaw pullers, who don't have to cycle from one place to another in search of a customer but can simply wait at their stand until a call is routed to them from a call center, which has beenset up specifically for this purpose.

Rickshaw pullers are more than happy with the system and one such rickshaw puller, Ramesh Kumar, admits that it is indeed a brainwave that will benefit all involved in the system.

With the average trip in the town under three km, Dial-a-Rick has resulted in satisfied commuters, happier rikshaw pullers, and a green technology to boot. So who needs cabs when there are rikshaws around?


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