DHARAN, Nepal – On the occasion of World Environment Day, pollution-free electric rickshaws billed as City Safari have been launched in Dharan Sub-Metropolitan City on Friday.
The City Safari Association of Dharan said the Safari services will be opened for public from Sunday.
On the other hand, tempo and rickshaw drivers of the metropolis have protested the launch of City Safari fearing that the service would displace them.
The rally of newly-launched vehicles couldn’t enter Bhanu Chowk, the main market area in Dharan, due to the protest of tempo and rickshaw entrepreneurs and laborers.
The rickshaw and tempo entrepreneurs and drivers have formed a struggling committee to oppose City Safari and have already submitted a memorandum at Dharan sub-metropolitan against it.
There are around 400 tempos and 426 rickshaws in operation in Dharan with hundreds of drivers dependent on them to support themselves and their families.
Secretary of the struggle committee, Himal Shrestha, said that they will not allow City Safari services on routes served by tempos and rickshaws.
The Safari association claims the new service would provide faster and cheaper transportation services to the public. It argues that the new form of transportation will contribute in curbing environment and sound pollutions as it runs on battery.
Administrative Officer of Dharan sub-metropolitan Ganesh Prasad Khatiwada, launching the new vehicles amid a program on Friday said, “The introduction of City Safari will help preserve the city’s greenery and environment.”
A total of 125 City Safari vehicles have been given permit to ply 47 new routes in Dharan, according to the association.
Only 15 electric rickshaws will come into operation in the first phase. The vehicle costs Rs 270,000 and runs on 125 Ampere battery and a minimum 1000 watt motor.