The coronavirus pandemic has weighed down heavily on 40-year-old Susy Kochukutty from Kerala, an autorickshaw driver for the past eight years, Susy has been trying hard to make ends meet. While Susy was struggling for the past many months, help came in the form of e-rickshaws and e-autos launched in the city as part of the Smart City project.
The city corporation has employed 30 e-vehicle drivers. Susy is one of them. The project in question aims to help women belonging to the BPL (Below Poverty Line) category and have worked as auto rickshaw and taxi drivers in the past.
28 are women and two are transgender people, out of the 30 beneficiaries.
The Kerala e-rickshaws are pollution-free and are more cost-effective than vehicles running on diesel.
E-rickshaws and e-autos
Susy begins her day at 9 AM. “It has been three months since I started riding the e-auto manufactured by Kerala Automobiles Limited (KAL). Before joining the team, my financial condition was very poor. But now, I am able to earn at least Rs 500-600 per day,” The New Indian Express quoted her as saying.
“Although it takes around four hours to charge the vehicle, I don’t have to spend money on fuel,” adds Susy.
Mumtaj Fatima, a driver for the past 14 years, started driving a bus to support her family. She later went on to drive auto rickshaws. She has been doing so for the past two years.
“When I initially started driving, I had to face a lot of criticism from society. But my husband and family supported me. I started earning and could take care of my three children with what I earned,” says Mumtaj.
“Commuters have dwindled as compared to pre-Covid times. People are hesitant to enter the vehicle due to various misconceptions. However, there has been a gradual shift in attitude. People are inclined to hiring e-rickshaws,” Mumtaj adds.
The Kerala e-rickshaws and e-autos are an amazing initiative.