Sirsa: Battery operated `Garuds`, provided free to the rickshaw-pullers, are improving their living standard, district Deputy Commissioner said on Sunday.
Garud, the battery-charged autorickshaw, costing Rs 90,000 each, had been initially given to the 40 persons from poor economic background under the Backward Regions Grant Fund Scheme being run by the Haryana Government in Sirsa district.
"They come in the morning, pick up the vehicle from the shed where it is kept and deposit the vehicles back in the evening. Now, they earn more--Rs 500 to Rs 700 per day against Rs 150-Rs 200 on manually driven rickshaws--and their families enjoy a better living now," D Ganesan said here.
Rickshaws were given free of cost. The driver has to deposit only Rs 10,000 as non-refundable security and this amount has been financed by the Punjab National Bank, he said.
"Arrangements have been made for charging the batteries of these autos in a parking shed, and an employee has been deployed for the purpose.
"He is fully trained and also provides spare parts and repair facilities to the auto-rickshaw drivers, if needed. Only Rs 20 is charged from every driver for charging the battery," Ganesan added.
Trial have shown that once charged completely, `Garud` can run up to 90 km on a single charge, he said.
He said that the battery-driven auto-rickshaws have also been given to four physically challenged persons who would earlier drive manually-driven rickshaws.
"They now drive them with ease and earn bread for their families with pride," he said.
Ganesan said more such auto-rickshaws would be made available to bring to an end the old tradition of "man pulling man on paddled rickshaws".
"Today, there is demand for these modern vehicles in other cities too. People coming from other cities have approached the administration for these battery-driven vehicles," Ganesan added.