New Delhi: Winter is already here and for thousands of homeless rickshaw-pullers in the capital who don't have a place to sleep, here's a reason to smile. They can spend chilly winter nights in Sukun, a special cycle-rickshaw, designed by students of St Stephen's College and Indraprastha College.
Doctor Amod Kumar mentored them all. "Rickshaws are a perfect 'jugalbandi' with the metro. It's the most eco-friendly service. It's actually a parachute for the poor," Dr Kumar says. Priced at Rs 16,000, the model of innovation has been aptly named. 'Sukun' means comfort in English.
Inaugurated by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit last month, the three-wheeler is a mini-package by itself. "I think it's a remarkable design that has been made which is very practical especially for the rickshaw-puller. It's a very good concept. I hope it catches on. And we'd like to encourage it," the impressed CM said.
Built using simple technology, Sukun is equipped with a seat that can be converted into a 6-ft bed. A mosquito net, a solar panel with a mobile charging unit, a night lamp, reflectors, front light and ceiling fan are other features that are fitted to provide comfort.
Dr Kumar and his enthusiastic bunch are now waiting for financial assistance from micro-finance agencies to set these comforting wheels in motion. The Delhi goverment too has promised to assist Dr Kumar and the students to get financial aid.
The rickshaw at the Delhi University campus will soon hit the streets. But for hundreds of rickshaw-pullers, Sukun has already become a symbol of hope. And could soon be that shelter that gives them that much-needed warmth in winters.