CapaCITIES Project Officially Launched with the Inauguration of E-Rickshaws Pilot in Udaipur

The CapaCITIES project was officially launched on Friday, March 17 in Udaipur, one of our four partner cities. The event took place in the esteemed presence of His Excellency, The Swiss Ambassador to India and Bhutan, Dr. Andreas Baum, Hon’ble UMC Mayor, Shri. Chandra Singh Kothari, Hon’ble Collector of Udaipur, Shri. Rohit Gupta, Hon’ble UMC Commisisoner, Shri. Sidharth Sihag, Hon’ble SMC Member Mayor in Council, Shri. Mukul Sen Gupta and the Director of the Smart Cities Mission, MoUD Shri. Sajeesh Kumar.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Chandra Singh Kothari, Hon’ble UMC Mayor, welcomed all the guests and emphasised on the universal brotherhood concept and working together with countries to solve the issues brought about by climate change.

The Swiss Ambassador to India and Bhutan and the chief guest at the launch, Mr. Andreas Baum, in his key note address, remarked, “Switzerland and India are working together in many fields such as economy, trade, research, culture and also policy issues. For more than fifty years, Switzerland has also supported India’s development through a dedicated international cooperation programme. ”

In a bid to transform the intermediate public transport fleet of the city, we alsolaunched our first e-rickshaw pilot. The initiative isbeing supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) through the CapaCITIES project whose consortium consists of The South Pole Group (Switzerland), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia, and econcept (Switzerland). The Implementation Agency of the project involves several other partner organisations and international experts.

Eighteen electric rickshaws (load carrying and passenger carrying) have been launched to demonstrate the benefits of an e-rickshaw. To begin with, different variants/categories of e-rickshaws have been introduced in the city with an aim to evaluate performance and recommend feasible options to scale up the project. The launch will also test the workability of advanced batteries such as Lithium ion.The strategy to promote e-rickshaws is based on replacing over a longer term all conventional fossil fuel rickshaws (small, large as well as freight rickshaws) with electric units.

The estimated GHG impact by 2030, considering the indirect emissions caused by electricity production in India, is around 70,000 tCO2, reduced or 27 percent lower GHG emissions than under BAU. The sustainable development impact is basically on improved air quality and reduced noise emissions valued at 1 MUSD as of 2030.

Mr. Sajeesh Kumar from the MoUD, talked about developing infrastructure projects that were people centric. “There is a need to leverage technology in order to improve service delivery,” he added.

Overall, the pilot initiative by the CapaCITIES implementing team will assist the city to collect information on conventional and e-rickshaws. Depending on the outcome, it is envisaged to develop a city-wide action plan for intermediate public transport system for the city of Udaipur and also the other cities under the CapaCITIES project.

Applications were invited under three categories, namely, BPL, disabled and National Food Security Scheme. 18 beneficiaries were selected from a pool of 150 applicants.In the presence of the State Home Minister, the winners were selected with the help of a lottery. They will now be trained by the RTO office.

From the Implementation Agency, Mr.AlexanderLüchinger provided an introduction to the CapaCITIES project while Mr. Ashish Rao Ghorpade spoke on the E-Rickshaw intervention.

Emphasising on the relevance of CapaCITIES project, Mr. Daniel Ziegerer, Head, Swiss Cooperation Office and Counsellor, Embassy of Switzerland in India, said, “Swiss cities are regularly ranked top in international surveys on sustainability and quality of living. We are pleased to share some of the expertise gained on climate-smart city development with our four CapaCITIES partner cities.”

Mr Emani Kumar, Deputy Secretary General, ICLEI, said, “All the four cities have shown a lot of interest while participating in this event as well as the project. They are keen on learning from each other’sexperiences, which is truly the essence of the CapaCITIESproject.”

The event concluded with the handing over of the e-rickshaws to the beneficiaries and the dignitaries taking them on a ride towards the imposing City Palace, where lunch was arranged.