'Pink Auto,' a Rotary Club initiative, with assistance from the EDC, Panjim, was inaugurated in Mapusa on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. The one-of-a-kind auto service, which has only women as drivers, is solely dedicated to women passengers. Mapusa MLA, Joshua D’Souza, flagged off the first pink auto-rickshaw, with Priti Kerkar in the driver’s seat. The auto service, which is now operational in Mapusa, is definitely a step forward in women's empowerment.
The GPS and digital meter-enabled auto-rickshaw service can be availed through a mobile app, and can cover a distance of up to 120 km on a single charge. Over the next couple of weeks, four more auto-rickshaws will be added so as to form a fleet. A total of 20 autos have been allotted to Goa, of which five rickshaws will operate in Mapusa.
The Pink Auto Rickshaw Service is strictly for women passengers and driven by women. Men are allowed only if they are travelling with their families. Schools and colleges can tie up with this service for pick-up and drop services – for female students only.
“This is the new India and the new Goa. We aim to provide employment opportunities to women, and I'm glad that it's starting from Mapusa. This will take women's empowerment to another level,” MLA D'Souza expressed while briefing the media on the occasion.
The EDC Scheme
The cost of an auto rickshaw is Rs 3.10 lakh, wherein the Rotary Club will provide assistance of Rs 60, 000, which would be paid as a down payment. The balance amount of Rs 2.5 lakh is payable at an interest of 3%. Any woman, aged between 18 to 50 years, can avail of this scheme.
Additionally, the Rotary Club also provides driving lessons and self-defense skills to interested women candidates, as well as pink uniforms to keep their identity distinct.