Pandemic tales: Battle is actual, survival is hard

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Categorical Information Service

KOCHI: Dileep Okay, a 43-year-old autorickshaw driver, has to attend for lengthy hours to get a trip. Father of two, he’s now discovering it troublesome to make ends meet. “My revenue has dropped to Rs 200 from Rs 1,000. At instances, all I earn is simply Rs 100 a day,” Dileep stated.

The Covid pandemic and the lockdown have hit the mobility sector severely, particularly day by day wagers like autorickshaw and taxi drivers. A few of them have modified professions to wayside distributors whereas others are nonetheless trying to find methods to make a residing. In city areas, the revenue of autorickshaw drivers diminished to one-third throughout the pandemic. Kerala has greater than 10 lakh autorickshaw and taxi drivers collectively.  

“With the federal government selling personal car commute, the scenario of an autorickshaw driver is depressing,” stated Syamantha Bhadran, of the Ernakulam Jilla Autorickshaw Drivers’ Cooperative Society. Struggling to recuperate from the primary lockdown, the second lockdown has worsened issues. And the gas worth hike makes survival troublesome. A number of autorickshaw drivers have began promoting fish and greens. 

“After the primary lockdown, I’ve been promoting groceries in my autorickshaw,” stated Rajesh P P. Dwelling in a rented residence along with his spouse and two schoolgoing kids, he’s the only real breadwinner of the household. “With this grocery enterprise, I handle to earn Rs 500 to Rs 600 day by day. I buy greens from Aluva market and promote them within the metropolis,” he stated.  

With mortgage repayments and kids’s schooling charges, Rajesh is discovering it troublesome to handle his funds.
“After the primary lockdown, I continued to drive my autorickshaw however I may hardly earn Rs 200 to Rs 300 a day. And no profit has been acquired from the federal government,” stated the 44-year-old. Greater than 10 per cent of drivers have begun roadside enterprise which, for now, earns them greater than the autorickshaw service. “Given the federal government order to advertise CNG and electrical autorickshaws, we request subsidy for drivers to make it a actuality,” stated Bhadran. 

Taxi drivers and house owners too are dealing with an identical ordeal. P M Siddique, who owns six automobiles, is struggling to pay his kids’s faculty charge.“My daughter is in Class 10. With no revenue, I’m unable to pay charges and the varsity authorities eliminated her from the digital class,” stated Siddique, who now sells eggs at Chembumukku. 

An autorickshaw driver has turned his car right into a vegetable store. A scene from Changampuzha Park at Edappally in Kochi | Pics: Albin Mathew 

“I attempted to promote my Innova cabs however nobody is there to purchase. Many drivers have taken up portray, welding and workshop-related jobs to feed their households,” he added. The Kerala Taxi Drivers Organisation contains 12 thousand drivers who just lately submitted a petition to Transport Minister A Okay Saseendran. 
“A number of taxis have remained within the shed after the primary lockdown. How are we presupposed to repay money owed? We would like the federal government to think about our scenario and prolong the due dates just a little additional,” stated Rajesh Cherthala, patron, Kerala Taxi Drivers Organisation.

What might be executed  
The elemental challenge for auto-taxi drivers is that the federal government has not declared them as a feeder service regardless of offering first and last-mile connectivity to the general public transport system, stated D Dhanuraj, chairman, Centre for Public Coverage Analysis.

“With the worth of petrol and diesel taking pictures up, it’s troublesome for these drivers to make a good revenue even after the lockdown. For public transportation, the gas needs to be subsidised,” he stated.

He needs the federal government to legalise and encourage the ‘share-auto’ idea to revive the sector. In response to a gross sales report printed by, Kerala holds the second-highest place in gross sales of four-wheelers in 2020. 

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