Entrepreneurship Chennai

An alternative business plan

Mansoor Ali Khan with his retro-fitted autorickshaw. Photo: special arrangement.  

In the midst of the lockdown, an entrepreneur has come up with an alternative business plan for his associates.

Mansoor Ali Khan, chairman, M Auto Pride Pvt Ltd, who manufactures and rents electric auto-rickshaws, is helping the autorickshaw drivers who hire vehicles from him, turn their hand at vegetable selling.

Mansoor says, “As autorickshaw-drivers’ business has taken a beating due to the lockdown restrictions on movement of people, I suggested that they try working as vegetable vendors as there is a huge demand for home delivery of goods and services now.”

Warming up to this idea, five women auto-rickshaw drivers are selling fruits and vegetables since the first week of April. “Till the lockdown is lifted, I’m not going to charge any rental fee for my auto-rickshaws. We have helped them identify a few apartment complexes where these auto-drivers can sell vegetables and fruits. Now, it is up to them to expand their customer base,” says Mansoor. For this purpose, Mansoor’s company retrofitted auto-rickshaws with provision for racks.

“With the permission of authorities concerned, we got three auto-rickshaws ready in four days, in the last week of March at our plant at Madipakkam. Besides, we are working to roll out another 25 such vehicles in a month, as a few more autorichshaw drivers with us are interested in taking up vegetables and fruits selling,” says Mansoor.

Auto-drivers A. Mohana Sundari and M. Selva Rani, who sell vegetables now, say, “In a day, we need to earn a bare minimum of Rs.1,000 to see a reasonable profit. Earlier, we had to slog up to 8 p.m. to earn that amount. Now, we are able to make it by noon, in fact with better profit,” they say.

Mansoor says he also offers his vehicles for free to voluntary groups and charity organisations that are reaching out to the poor and needy during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“There are many voluntary groups which distribute groceries, food packets and masks to migrant labourers, conservancy workers, differently-abled, senior-citizens and expectant mothers. They approach us as it is difficult to find transportation facility due to the lockdown. So, we provide our vehicles for free and we take care of the payment of the autorickshaw-drivers. As our vehicles run on electric power, they do not entail much fuel cost,” says Mansoor.

Voluntary groups and those who want to place orders for vegetables can call 73058 29811.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 10:53:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/an-alternative-business-plan/article31450391.ece

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