Auto drivers seeking financial help face govt. silence

Jagdev, an autorickshaw driver from Rajasthan, filled forms for distress ration card, seeking financial help for daily-wagers under the Haryana government schemes during the lockdown, but no help has come his way so far. He had to borrow ₹20,000 over the past two months to meet his expenses and things are getting difficult for him with each passing day.

Staying in Indira Colony in Sector 52, Gurugram has been home for Jagdev, who hails from Jaipur, for the past 13 years. But the past two months have been the most difficult. “I applied for both schemes of the government promising free ration and monthly assistance of ₹4,500, but there has been no reply. I borrowed ₹10,000 from my family back home a month ago. I again borrowed ₹10,000 from a relative recently to pay my son’s college dues and online examination fee,” said Jagdev.

The 46-year-old said he went out looking for passengers after the relaxations on May 4, but there was hardly anybody on the roads with metro, trains and buses not plying. Finding it difficult to make both ends meet, Jagdev wanted to go to his hometown, but decided to stay back since his son has to take exams online.

Struggling to earn enough for two square meals a day, Manjur Alam, who hails from West Bengal, said his form for monthly financial assistance by Haryana government was rejected since he did not have a local identity proof. He also applied for distress ration card, but is still waiting to hear on it. “The migrant autorickshaw drivers are worst hit since they are neither eligible for Haryana government schemes nor can claim wages like those working with companies,” said Alam.

Haryana Auto Chalak Sangh president Mahavir Singh demanded that Haryana government pay ₹5,000 per month to the autorickshaw drivers on the pattern of Delhi government.

He said he had written to Gurugram Deputy Commissioner in this regard, but there was no reply.

“A majority of the autorickshaw drivers in Gurugram, Faridabad and Panchkula are migrants. Not able to make both ends meet, a few of them even left for their hometowns in their autorickshaws. While those belonging to Haryana have received help from the government, the migrant drives have suffered the most,” said Mr. Singh.

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