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Empowering Matheran's Hand-rickshaw Pullers with E-Autos

Nestled in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, Matheran stands out as Asia's only automobile-free hill station, a title it has held since 2003. As a bustling tourist destination, the economy of Matheran thrives on the efficient movement of goods and people, making the introduction of electric autos (e-autos) not just a convenience but a significant economic booster.

For years, the rickshaw pullers of Matheran have relied on sheer physical strength to ferry tourists from the entry gate to the market. This journey takes over an hour and takes a toll not just on time but also on health. However, a groundbreaking shift is underway. Thanks to a landmark decision by the Supreme Court, the introduction of e-autos is set to redefine mobility in Matheran.

This change comes on the heels of persistent efforts by a union of local rickshaw drivers, who, spearheaded by spokesperson Sunil Shinde, advocated for a more sustainable and health-friendly mode of transport. Their advocacy highlighted the need for an update to the laws that have long governed Matheran's unique transport ecosystem.

Why E-Autos?

The transition to e-autos is more than just an upgrade in technology. For the 94 licensed rickshaw drivers, it's a leap towards a more efficient and sustainable future:

  • Efficiency: E-autos can cover the distance from the entry gate to the market in just 7-8 minutes, drastically reducing the time of commute and allowing more trips per day.

  • Economic Impact: Faster transport means more tourists can move efficiently, leading to increased economic activity and a boost in the local economy.

  • Affordability: With a fare of just ₹35, e-autos are not only faster but cheaper than traditional horse rides and hand-pulled rickshaws.

  • Health Benefits: Moving away from physically demanding hand-pulled rickshaws, drivers can look forward to a healthier working environment, reducing the risk of respiratory diseases prevalent among them.

The Role of Social Investment

Here's where you come in. The Matheran e-Auto Rickshaw Fund, supported by initiatives like Rang De, offers a chance for you to contribute to this positive change. By investing in this fund, you are directly aiding 20 rickshaw pullers to purchase their own e-autos, helping them increase their monthly income to as much as ₹30,000. This is not just an investment in a vehicle; it’s an investment in a person’s livelihood, health, and dignity.

Investing in the Matheran e-Auto Rickshaw Fund means supporting a sustainable, efficient, and equitable mode of transport. It’s an opportunity to participate in a movement that replaces toil with technology while preserving the ecological sanctity of a beloved hill station.

Every contribution brings us one step closer to a future where every rickshaw puller in Matheran can work with dignity and live without the daily hardship of manual labour. Let’s drive change together—one e-auto at a time.

Join us in making a difference. Invest in the future, invest in Matheran.

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