In a bid to transform the intermediate public transport fleet of the city, Udaipur in Rajasthan has launched e-rickshaws on Friday, March 17. The initiative by Udaipur Municipal Corporation is supported by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) through the CapaCITIES project whose consortium consists of The South Pole Group (Switzerland), ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia, and econcept (Switzerland). The Implementation Agency of the project involves several other partner organisations and international experts.
Eighteen electric rickshaws (load carrying and passenger carrying) have been launched to demonstrate the benefits of an e-rickshaw. To begin with, different variants/categories of e-rickshaws have been introduced in the city with an aim to evaluate performance and recommend feasible options to scale up the project.
The Swiss Ambassador to India and Bhutan and the chief guest Dr. Andreas Baum, in his key note address, remarked, "Switzerland and India are working together in many fields such as economy, trade, research, culture and also policy issues. For more than fifty years, Switzerland has also supported India’s development through a dedicated international cooperation programme."
Mr. Chandra Singh Kothari, Hon. Mayor of Udaipur welcomed all the guests and emphasised on the universal brotherhood concept and working together with countries to find solutions to issues brought about by climate change.
Before the launch, applications were invited under three categories - Below Poverty Line, Disabled and National Food Security Scheme. Eighteen beneficiaries were selected from a pool of 150 applicants and in the presence of State Home Minister, winners were selected with the help of a lottery. They will now be trained by the RTO office.
Mr. Sajeesh Kumar, Director (Smart Cities), Ministry of Urban Development highlighted the importance of developing infrastructure projects that were people-oriented. "There is a need to leverage technology in order to improve service delivery," he added.
Overall, the pilot initiative by the CapaCITIES implementing team will assist the city to collect information on conventional rickshaws and e-rickshaws. Depending on the outcome, it is envisaged to develop a city-wide action plan for intermediate public transport system for the city of Udaipur and also the other cities under the CapaCITIES project.
From the Implementation Agency, Mr. Alexander Lüchinger provided an introduction to the CapaCITIES project while Mr. Ashish Rao Ghorpade spoke about the e-rickshaw intervention.
Emphasising on the relevance of CapaCITIES project, Mr. Daniel Ziegerer, Head, Swiss Cooperation Office and Counsellor, Embassy of Switzerland in India, said, "Swiss cities are regularly ranked top in international surveys on sustainability and quality of living. We are pleased to share some of the expertise gained on climate-smart city development with our four CapaCITIES partner cities."
Mr Emani Kumar, Deputy Secretary General, ICLEI, said, "All the four cities have shown a lot of interest while participating in this event as well as the project. They are keen on learning from each other’s experiences, which is truly the essence of the CapaCITIES project."
Other members present at the event included Hon’ble Collector of Udaipur Shri. Rohit Gupta, Hon’ble Commissioner of Udaipur Municipal Corporation Shri. Sidharth Sihag and Hon’ble SMC Member Mayor in Council Shri. Mukul Sengupta. The event concluded with the handing over of the e-rickshaws to the beneficiaries and the dignitaries taking them on a ride towards the imposing City Palace, where lunch was organised.