Self employment by driving an electric rickshaw
Electric rickshaw (auto rickshaw) driver Sobhakant Upadhyay was found searching for pedestrians on the road side of Dhangadhi in the Tantlapur sun of the month of Baisakh.
Andaji 65-year-old Upadhyaya recounted the pain of having to drive a rickshaw in the Tantlapur sun to pay off his son’s marriage debt. ‘Two sons work in India, one son drives this car,’ he said.
There is a house with a thatched roof built on six acres of land in Dhangadhi. He has been driving an auto rickshaw for 10 years. He previously worked as a rickshaw driver in a local private school and worked as a laborer in India in his youth. “Driving auto rickshaws used to earn good income in the early years, but now, as there are more rickshaws, the income has decreased due to lack of passengers”, Upadhyay added, “even if the income has decreased, there is satisfaction when rickshaws provide employment.”
Another auto rickshaw driver, 63-year-old Arun Pujara, said that he would work and eat in his own country until his hands and feet touched. “Those who are willing to go abroad and do low-level work, but are ashamed to work in their own country and talk about being respected, cannot make progress”, he said, “They have to work and eat as long as their hands last.”
Pujara’s five sons, who worked as laborers in Dehradun, India for more than a decade, are all self-employed. Expressing his satisfaction with his earnings, he said, “At one time, he used to earn up to one lakh rupees a month.” He said that now he earns Rs 500 to 700 per day.
The business of electric rickshaws has flourished in Dhangadhi in recent years. Many people have got employment from this business, which is an easy means for the movement of passengers in the market area. Gauri Choudhary, a rickshaw driver, said that instead of being limited to household work, he is earning by driving rickshaws. He said, “There is no other way to earn at home, the income from driving a rickshaw is making a living.”
Chaudhary said that here women are also earning a living by driving rickshaws, and the thought and trend of women driving rickshaws is still seen in some places. “Discouragement of such thinking, many women have started earning income by driving electric rickshaws”, he said. By driving an electric rickshaw, he is earning up to Rs 7/800 per day.
Rickshaw workers have said that electric rickshaws that have entered the urban areas in recent years have become the main means of employment for the unemployed. Local rickshaw driver Bhim Bahadur Chaudhary said, “Rickshaw driving has made it easier to run a household.”
Electric rickshaws can be operated by ‘recharging’. A single ‘recharge’ can be used up to a distance of almost 100 km. Electric rickshaw business has contributed a lot to reduce the consumption of petroleum products. As the attraction towards this business is increasing, the number of rickshaws in the market area is also increasing.
Residents said that it has become an easy and cheap way to travel short distances. Since they can be charged by electricity, the use of electric rickshaws and scooters and electric bicycles is increasing recently. Although the electric rickshaw business is flourishing, the rickshaw workers complain that they have to take the hassle of getting a route permit and getting a driver’s license.
The Transport Management Office provides these rickshaws with registration and driver’s license. In the early years, there was a system to register at the Dhangadhi sub-metropolitan office. Nearly three thousand electric rickshaws are operating in Dhangadhi. With the operation of electric rickshaws, the business of traditional three-wheeled rickshaws, which was in operation until two decades ago, has been completely displaced.
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