THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After months of impasse, the e-auto project of the city corporation is finally becoming a reality. The Smart City Thiruvananthapuram Limited (SCTL) is in the final stage of procuring the e-autos from the Kerala Automobiles Ltd (KAL). According to officials, the temporary registration process of the vehicles is under way and the civic body is planning to launch the project next week.
However, the initial plan of the civic body to deploy woman drivers in association with the Kudumbashree Mission has faced a major setback with almost all beneficiaries identified backing out of the project. According to officials, the identified beneficiaries were unable to deposit their share of monetary contribution of around Rs 10,000 because of financial constraints.
Town planning standing committee chairman Palayam Rajan said that the list was finalised long back. With only a few days left for the launch, the corporation is desperately trying to help beneficiary woman drivers find revenue sources to make the project a reality.
“The project didn’t take off as planned because of the delay in getting the autos. Then the pandemic struck. Now the autos are ready to roll out but the beneficiaries have backed out. Many of them are out of work and their financial condition has deteriorated because of the lockdown. We need to motivate them to come forward. Many are apprehensive of the new vehicle as it is electric. We will be calling for a meeting with the Kudumbashree Mission to provide financial assistance for the woman drivers under micro loan schemes,” said Rajan.
An official associated with the project said the e-autos would ply on designated routes. As per the current route plan, Thampanoor to Manaveeyam Veedhi (via Overbridge, Secretariat, Assembly Complex, Corporation and Museum) would be the first circuit while Thampanoor to Padmanabhaswamy Temple (via Pazhavangadi Temple and Chalai Bazar) would be the second.
“The charges would be on par with petrol vehicles initially to prevent protests from existing auto drivers. This will also ensure more profits for the drivers as the operational cost of e-autos is much lower than a fuel-run auto,” said the official.The vehicles can ply 80 km on full charge. The entire project is estimated to cost around `1.92 crore. The tentative date scheduled for the inauguration is August 19. “We are planning to introduce a share-auto system here. E-autos would be 100 per cent women-friendly. Based on the success of the project we are looking forward to transforming the public transportation system,” said Rajan.
Even as SCTL prepares to roll out e-autos next week, the backing out of identified woman drivers who are unable to pay the beneficiary share has the civic body worried about the success of the long-awaited project
Designated routes of e-autos
Thampanoor to Manaveeyam Veedhi (via Overbridge, Secretariat, Assembly Complex, Corporation and Museum)Thampanoor to Padmanabhaswamy Temple (via Pazhavangadi Temple and Chalai Bazar)
In a nutshell
Project cost Rs 1.92 crore Cost of a single auto
Rs 2.8 lakh
E-autos would be able to run 80 km with a fully charged battery
Battery would be charged to full
in three to three-and-half hours