Batorickshaws of Delhi
By Ravi Nitesh
27 November, 2012
What is the primary requirement ? Being Eco friendly or Being Safe? Can we compromise on safety for saving environment? And is saving the environment not comes under safety?
In view of the global initiatives of reducing carbon foot prints, all governments and civil society organizations started various measures towards it. From the awareness campaigns for energy saving to environmental campaigns, from planting a tree to reducing de forestration many things are in use.
Reducing carbon emission is one of the prime attention for all. It provides a great help in reducing fossil fuels based system. Many such systems have been developed (and in process of development) and successful in practical use.For any innovation, cost is secondary factor that can be compensated through various other provisions and in later stage of development. Primary goal is to provide safe, eco friendly and quality product.
Renewable energy is also not an exception, almost all methods of renewable systems/ pollution reducing systems are still much costly and not available to public easily because its development for public use with safe and economic objective to be fullfilled, is still in progress.
In spite of the basic objectives of 'safety first'
Now, in Delhi, the one battery operated rickshaw (I termed it 'Batorickshaw') is becoming popular. It can be operated with battery installed in it and can travel distance of approx 60 km in one single full charge battery.
It is undoubtedly a nice vehicle to travel. You can easily find it near some metro stations with its promise of "greener vehicle."
Here the question arises, is it Safer too? What is the primary requirement ? Being Eco friendly or Being Safe? Can we compromise on safety for saving environment? And is saving the environment not comes under safety?
Metropolitan cities have all types of population. Low income grade, medium income grade and high income grade. The drivers of these battery operated rickshaw belongs from low income grade, mostly who migrated from their native places in search of employment. The travellers belong from medium income group who usually travels with metros. This mid level income group travellers belongs large number of office going executives, students and housewives. These people are also aware about present scenario of degrading environment and thus they want to contribute in saving the environment through their possible efforts. These Batorickshaws provide them an opportunity where people can travel as well as contribute to environment.
It is not much costly and therefore we opt it as a 'concerned' , 'informative' and 'aware' citizen.
The contrast is that these batorickshaws move on the road without any registrations of vehicles. Drivers of these batorickshaws do not need any driving license or certification. They don't take insurance for passenger or driver while they carry battery and electrical wires, moderate speed.
Bodies of these batorickshaws are different from manual rickshaws in terms of quantity of steel, weight, tyres and heaviness.
These batorickshaws do not have any number plate or specific symbols to be identified. In case any batorickshaw will hit someone, probably it cannot be identified. Because of absence of number plate, nobody can complaint. Because of no driving license, they can easily escape.
On the other hand these batorickshaws are environment friendly and support to kill poverty by providing opportunities for drivers who can own it without much formalities. These batorickshaw drivers donot need any permission from RTO offices and thus owning it is easy and convenient.
These batorickshaws are available to buy through private firms on approx 70 to 80 thousands rupee. Apart from this, on the part of environmental friendly and zero carbon emission, we must not forget that these vehicles cannot be claimed as 100% pollution free. The reason behind is that most of the electricity comes from coal based power plant and this electricity used to charge the battery. So this battery has already had a credit of carbon emission at power plant. Though it is less than diesel , petrol and natural gas, but the difference will not be much if we will consider the 30-40% loss in electricity trasnportaion and efficiency of coal power plant.
At a time, when we are busy in our day to day life and world is moving towards path of development, environment is in danger and it has become our collective responsibility to work towards it. But still, all measures to save the environment must be observed first on the parameter of safety. Anything that may be of public use and that is associated with life and safety of people, must have some interfere (of approvals and regulations) from government and should not be governed totally by private players. Being eco friendly must automatically mean being safe too.
Infact, making these rickshaw responsible and controlled in terms of speed, making these some specific number to be identified and then promoting them through certified agencies on various schemes (such as micro finance, subsidy) will not only bring the effective contribution for society and environment, but also work as a tool to eradicate povery and unemployment through green jobs as well.
Ravi Nitesh M. Tech in Gas Engineering from University of Petroleum & Energy Studies, Presently working in a CGD company, Also associated with various social organizations, Founder of Mission Bhartiyam
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