COVID-19 lockdown: Auto drivers adversely affected in Uttarakhand

Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India], May 24 (ANI): Auto drivers in Uttarakhand's capital Dehradun are facing a severe financial crisis amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

The auto drivers are struggling to earn as they can only carry a fixed number of passengers in their vehicles as per the new lockdown guidelines.

An auto driver, Sunil said, "Despite the relaxations in lockdown norms, there is still no work for auto drivers. We are facing a difficult time sustaining ourselves. And, we haven't received any support from the government so far."

"The guidelines implemented by the government for auto drivers makes it difficult for us to take even two passengers in our autorickshaws. This is causing trouble for us," said Ravi, another auto driver to ANI.

There was also a demand for increasing the number of passengers allowed on autos. "The government should allow at least 2 passengers in the auto," he added.

However, Dehradun SP (Traffic) Prakash Chandra said, "We have to follow the standard operating procedure released by the government."

Stressing that a meagre amount of Rs 1,000 provided by the government to the drivers is insufficient for them to survive, Auto-rickshaw Union leader in Dehradun, Pankaj Arora said " In response to the fear of exposure to coronavirus, people are not coming to markets. This is impacting auto drivers. Earlier, they were earning Rs 500-Rs 600 per day but now it has almost come down to zero. Though the government is offering Rs 1,000 each to the drivers it is not enough for them to survive."

"Just like Delhi government, we demand for Rs 5,000 per month as financial aid to all auto drivers from the state government," added Arora. (ANI)