Reuse of Electric Auto-Rickshaws as Mobile Kitchen In Kerala

The recipe for sustainable development includes the combination of reusability, environmental
care, innovation and livelihood, the difficult part of mixing these ingredients is striking the right
balance between the four. It would be a surprise to many as a small municipality in the state of
Kerala has achieved this feat by repurposing electric auto-rickshaws as mobile kitchen making it
a suitable income source for women.

The government’s vision of making India commute on electric power by the end of the decade is
reflected in various policies and amendment undertaken by them and the benefits of such a
change is also validated by the NITI Aayog commission. The study conducted by the
commission indicates that switching to electric will impact the Indian economy as well as the
environment in a positive manner. While these policies are certainly supportive in nature, on the
ground changes only takes the place once common individuals take matters on their own hands.
Mr. Georgekutty Kariyanapally (M.D Lifeway Solar Devices Limited) is one such individual.

Recently only, Lifeway launched their innovative “kitchen unit mounted e-auto rickshaw”
program by the name “Kudumbashree’s Amma Ruchi Project”. The brain behind this initiative is
Mr. Kariyanapally himself who took actions in a most appropriate manner helping more than a
set of entities at the same time. Initially, Mr. Kariyanapally’s team faced challenges in
implement the idea and innovation n grassroots level and this scenario is changing as more and
more women are coming into the mainstream. The remodeled electric vehicles can be charged
using power grid sources, windmill or solar panels and for lighting purposes, a solar panel was
placed on the rooftop of the vehicle which helps in overall range extension.

This initiative is relatively new in the Indian market and is much more reliable and efficient than
traditional roadside vendors as they take up much of the space which might lead to traffic
conjunction. By such repurposing of electric vehicles, many business such as retail vending of
groceries, vegetables, and fish can be shifted to them without creating much havoc on the
environment.

Even when we do the math, mobile electric vehicle mount kitchens are a reliable source of
income for women. On an average these initiatives allow a lady to warn INR 2,500 to INR 3,000
every day and around 30% of the margin goes directly to their households. This simply adds up
to INR 70000 per month provided if the lady works for 25 days a month. This model of business
is a great example of how technology should assist human development without breaking the
environment.