HYDERABAD: In order to improve transportation on its vast campus spread over more than 2,000 acres, the University of Hyderabad (UoH) launched an electric auto rickshaw facility for students as well as for visitors. However, the move has triggered anger among the student community and has sparked a debate of privatisation of services in public universities. The university has presently introduced two e-auto rickshaws which can seat four persons at once and charge a flat rate of Rs 10 per commute, to be paid through the Paytm e-wallet app.
Acoording to a media release by the university, the current routes covered by the two vehicles link major buildings, departments, hostels, library and the service runs between 8 am to 6 pm. The service is being run by a Bengaluru-based private company, Transvahan Technologies India Private Limited, on an ‘Own, Operate and Maintain’ basis.
“In order to preserve the natural habitat on the premises and to keep its campus pollution-free, the University of Hyderabad has taken a small step towards Greener Campus. Those who would like to contribute to its upkeep and sustenance are requested to make a contribution towards their mobility by greener commute, i.e. e-auto rickshaw,” the release said. However, the Students Union in a statement has condemned the new transport facility, arguing that instead of providing free and frequent transport facilities to students, the administration has chosen to utilise the services of a private agency and put the burden of payment on the students.
When contacted, a university official said, “There are shuttle bus services in varsity which are free and they run till 10 pm. The number of e-autoss will be increased if there is a good demand from students,” he said.