SRINAGAR — Commuters had a harrowing time reaching their destination on Wednesday as e-rickshaw service on Lal-Chowk-Bohri Kadal remained off the roads due to the strike by the E-rickshaw Association.
Dozens of commuters told the news agency CNS that since the launch of e-rickshaw services along the route through the interiors, the local populace heaved a sigh of relief. However, to their utter surprise, they are off the roads, causing huge inconvenience to daily passengers here in the summer capital.
“We had got a respite from the hefty fare as we found these e-rickshaws more convenient to reach the destination. Instead of Rs 15, I had to pay Rs 90 to reach my workplace in Lal Chowk,” said one of the female commuters.
Meanwhile, e-rickshaw drivers held a protest outside the RTO office, demanding officials allow plying of the battery-operated vehicles on the allotted routes.
The drivers said that they have been plying on the Lal Chowk-Bohri Kadal route for the last six months. However, they said the authorities are not allowing them to ply on the route anymore due to reasons better known to them only.
“We have purchased these e-rickshaws on heavy loans. Some of us have even sold jewellery of our spouses as we are poor people,” a driver said.
Drivers further said that this mode of transportation is non-polluting and they carry multiple passengers in one go. “We fail to understand why everyone including authorities is irked by our presence,” said a driver on the condition of anonymity.
On being contacted, President of the E-rickshaw Association, Inayat Ahmad said that they are being forced to come out on the roads in support of their demand of plying normally and without disruption every now and then.
“Despite having valid route permits, we are not being allowed to ply on the routes. Instead, we are being forced to opt for narrow lanes,” he said.
Notably, the e-rickshaws were introduced in Srinagar in April last year, bringing a lot of relief to daily commuters.