Chai on wheels

The leap day brought in a new ‘women-powered’ outlet to the city. At 10 am on Saturday, a green retro-fitted autorickshaw made its way into Trust Puram, Second Cross Street.

Published: 03rd March 2020 06:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2020 01:06 PM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: The leap day brought in a new ‘women-powered’ outlet to the city. At 10 am on Saturday, a green retro-fitted autorickshaw made its way into Trust Puram, Second Cross Street. All eyes were on the humble vehicle that will now move around areas within this two-kilometre radius, selling tea and snacks. Gilli Chai, a chain of tea outlets in the city, launched its first mobile tea service in association with MAUTO, which makes electric autorickshaws. 

Currently, they have six autorickshaws on the road in Kodambakkam, Perambur and Besant Nagar. The chief guests for the event included actor Nassar, actress Aishwarya Rajesh; Tony Lobo, Counsul of Spain in Chennai, and Mansoor Ali Khan, chairman of MAUTO. The rear of these retro-fitted autorickshaws, which serve as mobile tea shops, bear a resemblance to food trucks we find in the city. These autorickshaws will be run by four women — one to drive and others to serve the customers. The space, which includes flasks filled with tea, cups and mugs, and snacks, might just comfort every weary soul and pocket with the delights it houses in there. On the menu are ten varieties of tea, including their specialties — chocolate tea and saffron tea, and snacks like vada, cookies and puffs. 

The vehicles have been retro-fitted by MAUTO at their factory. (Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

These autorickshaws will be associated with a brick-and-mortar eatery run by Gilli Chai, where the vehicle can be charged and the beverages and snacks refilled. They will be parked at IT parks, bus stands, tourist spots and railway stations. This initiative was an environment-friendly step taken by the team. “We wanted to take tea to the people. We believe in women empowerment. So we came up with this idea. This is a win-win for both the parties as customers will get tea on-the-go and these women will earn a livelihood,” said Mohamed Rahmatullah, MD of Gilli Chai. The company aims to have 50 retrofitted autorickshaws on the road in a year. They plan to create more than 2,000 jobs in the next three years. 

“This is a fantastic opportunity for women who are looking for jobs. Men must support them and let them work. This venture is helping us take one step ahead in empowering women,” said actor Nassar, as he sipped on some hot tea. Tea and snacks are priced between Rs 20 and Rs 50.


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