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Vehicle seats redesigned for social distancing


SILCHAR, June 7 - In a bid to ensure proper social distancing norms and prevent rise in COVID-19 cases, the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Silchar has re-engineered seating arrangments on a vehicle plying within the campus.

As a pilot run, one of the five e-rickshaws used for intra-institute transport has been refashioned keeping the social distancing factor in mind, said NIT Silchar director Prof Sibaji Bandopadhyay.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Prof Bandopadhyay said, �During the lockdown, a lot of interesting content was seen on websites and social media platforms. In one video, a person was seen riding on an e-rickshaw with segregated chambers for passengers. It drew my attention and we discussed the matter in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. We started remodelling the e-rickshaws at our workshop. We are now asking our faculty members to take rides in the newly designed e-rickshaw and on the basis of feedback, we shall place it before the government.�

He said the online mode of information exchange was potent enough to inspire and encourage people, and the lockdown period � when all other physical modes of information were not possible � has amplified the importance of the online medium.

Dr Sujit Nath, assistant professor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, said that after the discussion in May, the four-member team including Dr Sujit Bhowmik, Dr SR Maiti and Manik Rajbanghshi, the expert at the workshop, started working on bifurcation of the vehicle.

�The initial design was re-worked many times and we finally came up with this shape in 20 days. There are four chambers in the e-rickshaw. We have used waterproof plywood of 6 mm for the chamber partition having enough space for a comfortable ride,� Dr Nath said.

The chamber can be easily dismantled once the COVID-19 situation eases, Dr Nath said.

Approximately Rs 7,000 was required for the task on one e-rickshaw, including raw material and labour charges. �If the experiment is successful, it can be used for mass production of refashioned e-rickshaws which shall ensure safe rides for passengers,� said Dr Nath.

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