Hit by lockdown, commercial transport drivers seek govt relief

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, Apr 15: Livelihood of the state’s several commercial transport vehicle drivers, which include trekkers, tempos, auto-rickshaws and pick-up trucks, has been badly affected in the wake of the nationwide lockdown to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
There are around 5,900 public service drivers in the entire state whose services have been severely affected.
In the twin capital, commercial transport drivers have reportedly met the respective deputy commissioners on 24 March last and sought monetary assistance of Rs 500 per day for all the commercial transport drivers.
The authorities are yet to respond to this request. However, on Wednesday, the authorities proposed to distribute 3 kgs of rice to each of their families instead. This was rejected by most of the commercial transport drivers claiming that it was insufficient.
“We are daily wage earners. We have lost our income. We have become jobless ever since the lockdown was announced. There are a few among us who are engaged in government jobs and work as auto rickshaw and trekker drivers on part-time basis. Those drivers can survive the lockdown, but what about us? We have families to feed and rent to pay, we feel helpless,” said an auto driver in Naharlagun.
Another commercial vehicle driver said that none of his fellow drivers have received any help from the state government.
“Our trekker and tempo organizations had last month sought help from the DC but there was no response. It has been 21 days, since the lockdown but we have not received any monetary help yet. I don’t know if the authorities will ever take note of our appeal and take action,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the authorities have reportedly, advised various commercial transport vehicle organizations of the state to prepare a list of those commercial drivers who are not engaged in government jobs and genuinely need assistance, and submit the same to the authorities for further action.