India’s north-eastern region is famous for its scenic beauty. It attracts thousands of tourists from across the country. However, tourists often face difficulties in commuting given the area is enveloped by Himalayan terrains. Also lack of infrastructural facilities like rail or airways only adds to the problem.
However, a young entrepreneur from Sikkim converted this challenge into an opportunity. The 23-year-old runs a NE Taxi – a service that not only provides rental cabs in Sikkim but also in all the seven-sister states. Rewaj Chettri launched the service in 2013 with an aim to provide best transportation services in the entire Northeastern region. The startup assures most luxurious, reliable and safe rides around North-East India.
The service provides the tourists a driver cum travel guide. It also endeavors to provide the safest ride in the region. Travellers do not need to worry about their safety as the driver has to undergo an intense defense driving course, and they also have to pass background and drug tests.
“The idea came to me during my college days in Northeastern Regional Institute of Science and Technology, also known as NERIST, where I was doing my B.Sc. in Forestry. The problem was that there were taxi services in the northeast, but nothing very well organized. I really wanted to start something that does not just provide easy commuting but also in a systematic manner and more important, with rides that could be tracked,” Chhetri said.
NE Taxi has joined hands with Impulse NGO network, which works to check the menace of human trafficking in the north-eastern region. Under this unique initiative, the drivers will provided with a software attached to an SOS app. The moment a driver or a passenger suspects any case of trafficking, they can utilise the SOS app that will automatically report the incident to the nearest police station. His current operational team comprises of 20 people while his company employs more than 500 drivers, opening up employment opportunities in Sikkim.
Drawing inspiration from Prime Minister Narendra Modi words , Chettri takes pride in being a job creator rather than a job seeker. Once he had so many ideas in his head that he launched nearly 30 startups at one point. Chettri’s startup NE Taxi got him the prestigious ‘The Entrepreneur 3,’ in a business competition at Young Leaders Connect. YLC is a platform that brings together young leaders and achievers from across the northeastern states with the hope of developing greater awareness and understanding of the region. He is also a founder of ‘CISUM’ (MUSIC in reverse order) the native music app of Sikkim that went one to become one of the most popular app in the region.