Auto drivers in Guwahati face hardship due to pandemic


Guwahati: Two months after the Assam government made partial restrictions amid the coronavirus outbreak, auto drivers in Guwahati struggle to keep afloat as they face weak demand and financial pressure.

 Autorickshaw drivers’ livelihoods have been disrupted due to long-standing restrictions on roads and lack of passengers.

 They rue that very few people are stepping out and availing their services, while private financiers are forcing them to pay back the loans taken by them to buy the vehicles.

 In addition, rising prices of petrol and diesel, as well as essential commodities, have affected auto drivers and other workers.

 According to Pabitra Kumar Baishya, secretary of the Greater Guwahati Autorickshaw Coordinating Committee, many auto drivers have recently started working as masons’ assistants in the Guwahati city and other parts of the state to run their families.

 During the COVID-19 epidemic, the government has taken various schemes to provide relief to the workers and farmers, though the autorickshaw drivers have not been able to avail these schemes, alleged Baishya, secretary of the association.

 Earlier, the Labor Commissioner’s Office had sent a list of motorists to provide assistance, but till now no motorist has received any government assistance.

 Baishya, also mentioned that e-rickshaws operating outside the policy in Guwahati have a significant impact on the livelihood of motorists.

 It may be recalled that in 1979, the late Chief Minister Sarat Chandra Singh launched the Educated Self-Employment Scheme with a view to establish educated youths in the state.