The Matheran municipal council held a trial run for Erickshaws on Wednesday, which will continue for the next three months, said Surekha Bhange, CEO of the council. According to Bhange, the ten-year census shows a decline in the population density of the region, with the current population at just over 4,000.
“The migration of residents from Matheran city is fast as the primary reason is that everyone wants good connectivity, employment and education. Due to a lack of transportation facilities, students staying inside Matheran have to walk for 4-5 km to reach their school. It's the same case with office-goers. As a result, they are shifting to nearby cities like Badlapur and Karjat,” Bhange said, adding that Matheran is witnessing a sharp decline in population, which needs to be controlled and the E-rickshaws will play a major role in this. “The citizens of Matheran will get major relief in terms of commuting once E-rickshaws are rolled out,” she said.
The Matheran Municipal Council started the E-rickshaw trial run following orders from the Supreme Court (SC) in May this year. Abiding by the SC order, the municipal council called for expressions of interest to procure the vehicles. However, the Matheran monitoring committee had suggested that before procuring the vehicles, the interested companies give a demo of their E-rickshaw model and only after that should the purchase be made.
“Six companies had shown interest in the expression of interest, while five companies conducted the demo run on Wednesday. Now after final approval, three to four E-rickshaws will be purchased to carry out trial runs for a three-month period,” Bhange said, adding that the trial run is very crucial considering the terrain of Matheran.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is carrying out the Matheran revamp project that includes the improvement of pathways with eco-friendly laterite clay paver blocks, the installation of railings for safety and a gabion wall to curb soil erosion, apart from improving the parking facility. The overall project cost is amounting to Rs 80 crore and only 20 per cent of project work is remaining, according to a MMRDA official requesting anonymity.