India’s e-rickshaws drive market boom

As many as 11,000 new e-rickshaws hit the streets every month, and annual sales are expected to increase by about 9 percent. (Photo: asia.nikkei)
Updated 27 October 2018
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India’s e-rickshaws drive market boom

  • As many as 11,000 new e-rickshaws hit the streets every month, and annual sales are expected to increase by about 9 percent by 2021

NEW DELHI: Rajan Kashyap, 28, is more relaxed than he was three years ago, when he was constantly in debt.
He attributes his more relaxed life to the electric rickshaw, or e-rickshaw as it is popularly known.
He used to be a small-time sculptor, but within a year of buying the three-wheel e-rickshaw, he was able to extricate himself from debt.
“In three years, I managed to buy three e-rickshaws from the money I saved,” Kashyap, who uses his e-rickshaw in New Delhi, told Arab News.
“One I run myself, and the other two are given on rentals and they fetch me good money every month,” he said. “I earn 1,200-1500 rupees ($16-$21) per day, which is almost double the money I earned in my previous job.”
Today, e-rickshaws are the most visible vehicles in New Delhi and many other parts of India. In the national capital, the number of e-rickshaws has risen from 4,000 in 2010 to more than 100,000 by 2017, according to a report by the New Delhi-based Centre for Civil Society.
As many as 11,000 new e-rickshaws hit the streets every month, and annual sales are expected to increase by about 9 percent by 2021, Bloomberg reported.
New Delhi-based economist Prerna Raj said they represent a $2 billion market in India. The Finance Ministry is reportedly planning to spend about 40 billion rupees in the next five years to improve the country’s charging infrastructure and to subsidize e-buses.
Amitabh Kant, CEO of the National Institution for Transforming India, a government think tank, said: “The future lies in electric mobility, and India needs to take a lead in this.”
He added: “If we are able to make technological breakthroughs in the areas of storage and batteries, if we can make a massive breakthrough in electric mobility, India will leapfrog the world.”
E-rickshaw operator Moni Kumar said: “The main challenge remains the charging of batteries. The government needs to provide facilities for charging batteries.”
Another issue affecting the growth of the e-rickshaw market is accessibility to loans. E-rickshaw manufacturer Shishir Agrawal told Arab News: “Poor drivers need subsidies and loans, and the government needs to work on that. If that’s taken care of, India will see a boom in e-rickshaw growth.”


Cliff divers leap from Beirut landmark in international tour

Updated 16 July 2019
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Cliff divers leap from Beirut landmark in international tour

  • The competition was the fifth of this year’s Red Bull Cliff Diving Series that began its 11th season in April
  • Raouche Rock has featured on the back of postcards, on stamps, in family photographs and many Arabic songs and films

BEIRUT: Cliff divers used to competing in isolated spots have been leaping into the Mediterranean in bustling Beirut, the first time the Lebanese capital’s landmark Raouche Rock has hosted an international contest.
The towering rock, also known as Pigeons Rock, is an enduring symbol of a city where many other landmarks were destroyed by the 1975-90 civil war.
“Normally when we have cliffs like this, it is in the middle of nowhere. I have never been to a place with an amazing cliff right in the city center,” said Gary Hunt, a Briton who won the men’s competition on Sunday.
The competition was the fifth of this year’s Red Bull Cliff Diving Series that began its 11th season in April on El Nido island in the Philippines and winds up in Bilbao, Spain in September.
Hunt became the first diver in the series history to receive a perfect 10 score from each of the five judges at Sunday’s competition.
In the women’s contest, Australia’s Rhiannan Iffland, 27, scored her sixth consecutive win of this series.
“It doesn’t matter how many times you perform a dive. You still get up there 22 meters (72 feet) high and you still have all these negative emotions,” said Iffland, who has been diving since she was nine.
“To overcome that fear is something that I cannot express.”
Raouche Rock has featured on the back of postcards, on stamps, in family photographs and many Arabic songs and films.
Daring Lebanese have leapt from the rock for generations. Some have also committed suicide from it.
Hundreds of spectators watched the competition, which ended on Sunday, from the adjacent rocks and promenade.
’Young again’
Among them was 63-year-old fisherman Mohamed Itani, who said he had jumped off the cliff 36 times over the years for fun. “It is beautiful,” said Itani as he watched the divers. “It makes me feel young again.”
Judges mark the divers on their take-off and entry to the water and number of twists, somersaults and position in the air.
Hunt, 35, said he used to count to three just before he jumped but now just takes two breaths: one when he lifts his arms up and one when he leaps.
“There are three seconds in that air where you are just in total control. Your brain and your body decide what you do and you are completely free,” he said.
Itani described a similar feeling. “You’re like an eagle in the air,” he said.