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Wonder pedal rickshaw with motor



Motor assisted pedal cycle rickshaw.

FOLLOWING THE successful trials of a Motor-Assisted Pedal Cycle Rickshaw, the first of its kind developed in the country, at the University of Pune campus, it is all set to be introduced in the Taj Mahal at Agra and at Hampi in Karnataka.

"We are interested in passing on the technology to any non-government organisation that wants to popularise the motor-assisted pedal cycle rickshaw," says Anil K. Raghuvanshi, director of the Phaltan-based Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute, who was here in the Capital recently for a Planning Commission meeting. With simple technological solutions to problems faced by people in rural areas, like the improved lantern which goes by the name "Noorie", he has been lobbying for a technology mission for cooking and lighting.

At NARI, two types of cycle rickshaws have been developed - Improved Pedal Cycle Rickshaw (IMPRA) and the Motor-Assisted Pedal Cycle Rickshaw (MAPRA). "In the former category of design innovation, the existing cycle rickshaw has been completely re-engineered for the safety and comfort of passengers and to reduce the workload on the rickshaw-puller," says Dr. Raghuvanshi, who also feels that the rickshaw-pullers in various cities and towns need to be organised into co-operatives.

"Tests done on IMPRA have shown that it enables a rickshaw puller to take two passengers on a 6 to 10 per cent slope quite easily and without getting down from his seat," says Dr. Raghuvanshi. "This rickshaw is made of mild steel angles, is light in weight and has ample luggage and leg space."

Discussions with a large number of rickshaw-pullers also revealed that their drudgery would be reduced drastically if a small motor is attached to the rickshaw so that it can assist their pedalling whenever they experienced load or while going uphill. The extra power may also allow the rickshaw pullers to ply it for longer distances and thus increase their earnings per day. Consequently, 20 MAPRA's were fabricated at NARI and tested under varying conditions.

"The MAPRAs have logged more than 5,000 km in trial runs. Five of them are running in Pune University campus and a couple of them are running in Phaltan. Efforts are on to put them in Hampi and in various university campuses in different parts of the country. If any NGO in the Capital is interested in trying them out on an experimental basis, we are ready to provide them the MAPRA's," says Dr. Raghuvanshi.

For rickshaw-pullers, availability of IMPRA and MAPRA is being seen as the first real attempt at making a difference in their lives.

Essentially a pedal rickshaw with motor, MAPRA will also bring dignity to their lives.

"Since it runs with a battery low cost chargers can help rickshaw pullers charge it anywhere. And it will also help in creating a non-polluting transport system."

By Kannan K

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