MOHALI: Times of India, 1 August 2011
The much-hyped Eco-Cab project in Mohali has seemingly fallen flat on its face in the district as almost a month after its launch, the district administration along with officials of anationalized bank have only managed to convert 19 rickshaw-pullers to start plying the eco-cabs.
Recently, Punjab and Haryana high court had taken note of the eco-cab facility in Mohali and asked the district officials to reply on how many eco-cabs were plying in the district.
In its reply to the HC, Mohali district administration had submitted that since the launch of the facility they had a total of 19 such eco-cabs at present ferrying customers in the district.
Taking note, HC had stated that 19 eco-cabs was a very low number for a district which boasts of a population close to 10 lakh and efforts must be made to increase the number significantly in the near future. However, HC was also appreciative that Mohali district was among the first districts in Punjab to take up such an initiative.
Efforts to increase the number of eco-cabs would, however, take much more than lip-service as authorities blame the lukewarm response to the scheme on the nexus between push-rickshaw pullers and money-lenders, who actually own the push-rickshaws.
Speaking to TOI, Mohali deputy commissioner Varun Roojam said, "We are in the process of convincing rickshaw-pullers to change their rickshaws from conventional ones to the eco-cabs. The roadblock in this is the enormous debt that needs to be paid by the rickshaw-pullers to their money-lenders. We are targeting 100 such eco-cabs by the end of August, but there is still a lot of work to be done in this regard."
He added, "District administration along with officials from Punjab National Bank have been in touch with rickshaw-pullers to generate interest in these eco-cabs."
Under the scheme, each eco-cab would cost around Rs 10,000 and banks have fixed 36 monthly instalments of Rs 300 per month for all rickshaw-pullers to recover loans given to each purchaser. It would also translate into the rickshaw-puller owning the vehicle once the loan is paid.
Passengers in eco-cabs would enjoy the privilege of listening to music as the eco-cabs would have FM radio installed in them.