The Supreme Court on Thursday permitted Maharashtra to introduce eco-friendly e-rickshaws in the Matheran eco-sensitive zone on an experimental basis, to check its feasibility to replace hand-pulled rickshaws plying in the area.
The petitioner, Sunil Shinde, a retired schoolteacher and a resident of Matheran, had moved court seeking that e-rickshaws be allowed to ply in the hill station. Shinde on Saturday thanked mid-day for its sustained support for the cause and said that the landmark decision of the court “will give freedom to the suffering cart pullers”. The hand-cart operators have been struggling for a long time and their operations are not sustainable. They were badly hit in the pandemic due to lack of tourists in addition to other practical problems.
“The steep inclines, unpaved roads and turns make it difficult for hard cart pullers to operate. Moreover, behind every cart there are four people to run it and the money from the customer is divided among them. E-carts will be very helpful and they will be free of pollution,” Shinde told mid-day. “I could not bear to see the inhuman side to hard carts operating in Matheran,” he said, adding, “Battery-operated electric rickshaws have no environmental hazard and will be a faster way to commute. It will give us a dependable mode of transit.”