Fazilka Ecocabs Making Waves Across the Country

Traditional Fazilka Rickshaw - ©LoveFazilka

Ecocabs is the name given to traditional Indian rickshaw operations that are organized into a network and can be called directly by customers. Fazilka is an Indian border town with a population of less than 100 000 inhabitants. It is the first city in the world to have a dial-a-rickshaw facility.

Mahatma  Gandhi once said “I would prize every  invention of  science made for the benefit of all.” Embracing  Mahatma’s idea of “doing  more, for less, for more”, the town of Fazilka has  given something innovative to this  world. “Ecocabs” are a low cost  solution to one of the key transport  dilemmas in any urban area. 

Cycle rickshaws have been a feature of Indian cities for nearly a century. They are fast and eco-friendly, but it is not always easy to get one when you need. So as the pace of city life and the size has increased, there has been a shift toward taking motorized transport, including private cars, even for relatively short journeys, contributing to congestion, pollution and risk on the roads. The Ecocabs scheme, on the other hand, allows people to phone rickshaw drivers to direct them where they are needed. The upshot is that customers can rely on getting their ride in no more than 10 minutes. The concept has been promoted as dial-a-rickshaw.
With an order of the honorable Punjab & Haryana High Court, the concept which originated in Fazilka two years ago has been fully adopted by both the Punjab and Haryana governments. After a news item on the Fazilka scheme appeared in the Indian Express, petitions were targeted at the Punjab and Haryana Governments, asking “if such eco friendly rickshaws can be implemented in Fazilka, why not in the rest of both states?”. A recent order by the Haryana Government to its local body department has made this possible. Now more than half a million rickshaw families are going to get the benefit of being transformed into Ecocabs. A small initiative is adding up to big results. To make it even more popular, the GWAF (Graduates Welfare Association Fazilka) has made a dedicated website for the ecocabs, which will contain all the technical information on them as well as instructions on how to start an Ecocab-Dial-a-Rickshaw scheme in other towns and cities (www.ecocabs.org). Letters from the Principal Secretary and Financial Commissioner of Haryana have also requested the association to provide the technical know how of Fazilka Ecocabs to the Haryana authorities so that the scheme can be implemented there as well as soon as possible.

Nano-New Ecocab Concept Model - © LoveFazilka

It is important to note here that the Punjab Government through the Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board and District Administration of Amritsar has already implemented Ecocabs in the holy city of Amritsar and subsequently in Patiala, where a local NGO, the Patiala Foundation, has already implemented the same concept under the name “Green Cabs”. This year Punjab exhibited Ecocabs as a sustainable mode of transport in its pavilion during the International Trade Fair, 2010 held in November at Pragati Maidan, Delhi and state received overall silver medal.
A model to generate additional revenue for rickshaw drivers has already been worked out and will be implemented soon. The legalities with telecom partner have already been completed and free telephones are available for the world’s first dial-a-rickshaw service, which are now paid. Ecocabs operations at 7 new Ecocab call centers in Fazilka. The other welfare schemes which are in place at Fazilka for Ecocab operations are: free winter wear & woolens, free medical consultation by all leading private hospitals and doctors, medicine from the three authorized medical stores and laboratory at discounted prices, free medicines and free required laboratory tests, free legal aid by four leading lawyers, permanent Ecocab stands by the Municipal Council of Fazilka in various zones of Fazilka and computer education for a few educated rickshaw drivers by two computer centers in Fazilka.
Navdeep Asija

Artistic View of Fazilka Ecocab - © LoveFazilka

To read more: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20110110/bathinda.htm#11
Website: www.lovefazilka.org/ecocabs

One Comment

  1. nav
    Posted 17 July, 2011 at 07:43 | Permalink

    please tell me about cost n availability of these eco rickshaws n drawbacks also if any as we want to finance these rickshaws.

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