Hyderabad Autowalas Face The Struggle of Lockdown
Hyderabad: Mohammad Basheer has been driving an auto-rickshaw in Hyderabad for about 10 years now. While his job was never easy, he was able to make ends meet, and according to him, never failed to pay the rent on time. However, everything changed since the complete lockdown announced during the first wave of Covid-19 pandemic last year.
“It’s not like I earned a lot. But after being on the roads for about 10 to 12 hours, I was able to make a decent Rs 1,000- Rs1,200 per day. That was enough to sustain my family and also save a bit for the future. After the lockdown was declared, I wasn’t able to earn at all for about two to three months,” he said.
However, even after the city was open the business had gone down drastically. Most of the auto drivers were able to earn only Rs 300 to Rs 400 daily, almost till the end of last year. “We thought things might change this year, but so far it has been worse than 2020. With the second wave and later lockdown, there is no business. I don’t have any money to pay my rent, buy enough ration or support the education of my three kids,” shares Basheer, as he finishes his lunch and gets ready to hit the road once again.
This, unfortunately, is not an isolated case. Autorickshaw drivers have been affected severely during the pandemic. The auto stands, that were once abuzz with daily commuters negotiating the fare with the auto walas, are now mostly stranded.
While many are surviving off the little savings they have, in a few cases the family members of auto drivers had to start working to run the kitchen.