In a step towards ensuring availability of fresh and hygienic vegetables and fruits to consumers and also to reduce drudgery to vendors, the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research on Wednesday made available its solar-operated tricycles to some vegetable vendors from the oppressed sections.
Titled as “Arka tricycles,” they were distributed to chosen beneficiaries under SC Sub-plan of the Union government.
The IIHR-designed tricycles have a glass-covered area for keeping the vegetables and fruits in a hygienic condition away from dust. The evaporative cooling condition installed in the vehicle helps in keeping the produce fresh for at least 36 to 48 hours from the time of harvest. It also prevents post-harvest losses which are generally assessed at 10 to 15 per cent in normal push carts due to open exposure.
The driving system helps vendors to cover more area for selling fruits and vegetables. On a full charge, the tricycle can cover a distance of 50 km.
The vehicle has 20 crates that can accommodate 200 kg of fruits and vegetables. It has also been fitted with LED lights for night time selling and digital balance for weighing the produce. While a public address system has also been provided for commercial announcement, it has electrical charging facility as an alternative to solar charging during cloudy days.
Contactless automatic sanitizer dispenser too has been provided in view of health safety.
The cost of the tricycle is around ₹1.50 lakh which is expected to be recovered in two years through savings in the form of prevention of post-harvest losses, according to IIHR scientists.
Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who distributed the bicycles, hailed the IIHR for its achievement and appealed to vendors to make use of the opportunity.
IIHR Director M.R. Dinesh and other scientists were present on the occasion.