COVID-19 lockdown: Auto-rickshaw drivers urge Odisha govt to provide financial aid

Bhubaneswar: Raising the hardships faced by auto-rickshaw drivers and owners following the extended lockdown for containment of the deadly COVID-19’s spread, the All Odisha Auto Chalak Mahasangha today urged the Odisha government to provide financial assistance to the auto-rickshaw drivers and owners.

In a letter to Madhusudan Padhi, Principal Secretary, Commerce and Transport department, the auto-rickshaw driver’s association requested the government to announce an immediate package of Rs 4000-5000 per autorickshaw driver or owner to meet their basic necessities.

“The amounts may be distributed by coordinating with various auto-rickshaw unions in the city and rural areas and with technical support from police which provides ID cards to them maintaining their database,” the letter read.

There are around 1.2 lakh auto rickshaws plying in the state. Out of these 70,000-80.000 auto-rickshaws were owned by self employed auto-rickshaw drivers.

The letter further stated due to continuing lockdown, daily occupation of auto-rickshaw drivers and owners has come to a complete standstill thus severely straining their financial condition and pushing their family into potential starvation.

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