Akhilesh flags off free rickshaw trial

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, in the presence of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Minister for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Azam Khan, flagged off the trial run of battery/motor-operated rickshaws today.

The selected model of rickshaw, after the trial run, will be provided free of cost to rickshaw pullers. The SP had promised in its poll manifesto to replace the pedal rickshaw with a battery/motor-operated rickshaw.

"No party ever bothered about the plight of rickshaw pullers. Once I had ordered cycles for my children. The shopkeeper sent several of them on a rickshaw. We selected one but when the rickshaw puller was going back with the load, I was moved by his condition," Akhilesh said.

Mulayam termed it as a 'miraculous' work done by the department of Azam Khan. "This is a chamatkari kaam. I want other ministers to do such works. Such battery/motor-operated rickshaw fits in the socialist ideology of Ram Manohar Lohia," he remarked. He also urged Akhilesh to implement the scheme. "The chief secretary will take care of finances," Mulayam said.

State Urban Development Authority (SUDA), the nodal department for the scheme, had shortlisted nearly 2.48 lakh rickshaw pullers who will be provided free battery/motor-operated rickshaws. The cost of one rickshaw is Rs 80,000. Presently, 23 models by 13 companies are on trial. Shiv Shanker Singh, Director, SUDA, said the best model will be selected after the trial run. It has to satisfy the specifications of the technical committee and feedback from rickshaw operators will also be taken into consideration. A high-power committee headed by Chief Secretary Javed Usmani will take the final decision. A budgetary provision of Rs 100 crore has been made for the scheme.

19-yr-old kills self

A 19-year-old girl student of Saroj Institute of Management and Technology reportedly committed suicide by jumping off the fourth floor of the institute's building in Gosainganj area on Saturday. No suicide note was recovered. Police said the girl was depressed after she had failed in four of her subjects on Friday.

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