PUNE: Grit and determination is what Dharaj Alegaonkar’s life story is all about. The 35-year-old man, who met with a major accident in 2006 and became partially disabled, is today earning Rs 700-800 per day, fighting against all odds of life, thanks to his e-rickshaw.
He plies e-rickshaw between Gunjan Talkies, Yerawada and Lohegaon. Alegaonkar, a resident of Nagpur Chawl, is the sole breadwinner in his family of five (wife and three children). According to him, he faced problems after he met with an accident when a slab of an under-construction building at the chawl fell upon him. Due to the accident, the movement in his hand and legs got restricted, leaving him in the lurch.
“I used to sell shoes and fancy footwear at Yerawada. After the accident, I had no option but to sit in one place. After few months, after a surgery in which my hands and legs were cast, I again started selling shoes and footwear. But it did not fetch me enough money to support my family and to repay the loan taken for medical treatment,” Dhanraj adding, “I then got a licence for autorickshaw and drove a hired autorickshaw.”
“After all my expenses, like giving rent to autorickshaw owner and fuel charges, I was earning only Rs 7,000-7,500 per month, which was not adequate. In February, one of my friends suggested that driving an electronic rickshaw will benefit me. So, I applied for a loan to buy my own e-rickshaw. Now, I drive an e-rickshaw on the same route, but earn Rs 700-800 per day,” Dhanraj said with a gleam in his eyes. Apparently, he is the only person on this route who runs an e-rickshaw. He said that due to the e-rickshaw, he is spending a lesser amount on the fuel. “The e-rickshaw gives great relief to me as I am able to educate my two children,” he said.