GUWAHATI, Dec 18: E-commerce and App-based services in most parts of Assam and more particularly in Guwahati have almost been paralysed as the ban on mobile internet service clamped in the wake of the violence over the amended Citizenship Act continues to remain in place for the eight day today.
Although the Government has restored broadband services, the ban on mobile internet still remains with the government citing security reasons for continuing with the restrictions.
The ban has hit people very hard as they are now very much dependent on various mobile apps and other online services — from availing cab services to paying bills and recharging mobile and DTH services online using mobile internet.
APP-BASED E-COMMERCE SERVICES HIT
With the suspension of internet services in Guwahati and in 10 violence-hit districts of Assam, thousands of cab and motorbike drivers plying their vehicles under app-based aggregators like Ola, Uber and Rapido (mostly in Guwahati) have been the worst affected.
A cab driver living in Kalapahar locality of Guwahati said that he does not know what to do since he has been sitting at home for the past one week, doing almost nothing, as the ban on mobile internet continues.
“I have been driving with Uber for the past one year. The unrest in the State has affected drivers like me. How am I supposed to run my family, provide my two children, wife and my aged parents even two square meals a day if I cannot take my car out? How will I pay the EMI of my vehicle?” he questioned.
He also demanded that the state government should provide alternative work or compensation to drivers affected by this suspension.
Another Rapido (app-based bike service) driver from Ganeshguri, who is also a college student, has no clue as to how to maintain his education or contribute towards his family, as he has not been able to earn a single paisa in the past eight days.
“My family is very poor. My mother is a daily wage earner. Because of the unrest in Guwahati she was not able to go for work. I have been shouldering some responsibility and contributing towards family expenses by registering myself as a Rapido driver. But the suspension of mobile internet services has hit people like us very badly. I hope the services are restored soon,” he said.
Another driver from Nayantara area in Guwahati who runs his car under Ola (app-based car service) said, “We can’t take passengers without customers booking rides using the mobile app. Our lives have been badly hit by the clampdown,” he told News Live.
Commuters in Guwahati are also facing a lot of hardships following the internet ban with many people alleging that auto and share-taxi drivers are charging exorbitant fares.
“Autos don’t run with fare meters and demand whatever they feel like for even the minimum distance. On the other hand, cabs charge only what is shown on the apps. We request the government to restore the mobile internet,” said a daily commuter.
FOOD DELIVERY SERVICES HIT BY MOBILE INTERNET BAN
Businesses of app-based food services like Swiggy, Uber Eats and Zomato have also been badly hit following the shutting down of mobile internet services.
Restaurants owners have expressed their resentment over the suspension. Delivery boys are also facing hardships as they are not able to make ends meet.
“Businesses have been hit following the clampdown on mobile internet. And people like me have been the worst hit. I have not earned anything for the past one week. My family is almost starving,” a Swiggy delivery boy said.
The Government, meanwhile, said that it will review the situation on Thursday before deciding whether or not to restore services.