From 1984-1997, I had been associated with Unnayan, a social action group in Calcutta. In the early 1980s, in response to the West Bengal govt’s efforts to seize rickshaws in Calcutta, Unnayan initiated a public campaign against the govt’s actions. A study of the rickshaw and the rickshaw trade was undertaken. A documentary film Man versus Man was made by Shashi Anand. Unnayan developed and successfully demonstrated a city-rickshaw, and also took up a study on cycle-rickshaws in a number of Indian cities.
Rickshaws, tramways as well as the larger question of sustainable transport in Calcutta is discussed in the special issue on Calcutta (February 1997) of the journal World Transport Policy & Practice, published from the UK, edited by Prof John Whitelegg. I have a PDF version of this issue which I'd be glad to share.
Prof Whitelegg has also written about rickshaws in his article on non-motorized transport and sustainable development in Calcutta.