Hyderabad: Auto drivers don't give a hoot for Covid norms
- As officials are not enforcing guidelines stringently, complacency has taken over people
- A majority of auto-rickshaw drivers in the city do not have the necessary equipment like a cover shield to be placed between the passengers and a few are seen working without wearing masks. Also, the social distancing norm allowing only two or three passengers is not being followed by the autos
Hyderabad: The government began the unlock process under strict guidelines to be followed by all sectors as the threat of Coronavirus spread still looms large and there is a fear of a second wave of pandemic. However, with no monitoring mechanism to enforce the guidelines, stringently complacency has taken over the people resulting in all sectors neglecting the norms.
Especially, public transportation systems like auto-rickshaws need to be extra cautious to curtail the spread of Covid and save peoples' lives. While cab and auto aggregators like OLA autos and few others are following COVID-19 precautions, but a majority of auto-rickshaw drivers in the city do not have the necessary equipment like a cover shield to be placed between the passengers and a few are seen working without wearing masks. Also, the social distancing norm allowing only two or three passengers is not being followed by the autos, more particularly in share-autos and no driver is sanitizing the autos after each ride.
It may be mentioned here that last month the authorities allowed a few RTC bus services to operate but as the number of services have been reduced the commuters are forced to ply on autos to reach their destination.
"I am forced to travel by autos in this pandemic as there is a shortage of buses. Many share autos are blatantly abusing the Covid norms by carrying more than two passengers. I have to request the auto drivers to wear masks and not to take more than two passengers at a time. I urge the government to enforce preventive measures stringently," said Baglekar Akash Kumar, 5th year LLB student and a resident of Tarnaka.
Earlier, the situation was different but now during pandemic the auto rickshaws must follow the social distancing norm, But the auto drivers are seen carring four to five passengers at a time. I have seen autos waiting till their autos get full passengers," said Nrimala, a private school teacher, Bowenpally.
"The police are doing their duty. We are imposing a fine of Rs 1,000 on auto drivers caught doing business without wearing mask. Around 50 drivers have been fined in Petbasheerbagh area and other localities in Cyberabad limits. We are also trying to alert them to follow the covid rules," said Narasimha Rao, ACP, Pet Basheerabad division.
"The lockdown has affected my livelihood and I have fallen into debts. I clean my vehicle before coming onto the roads in the morning and also maintain a sanitizer but cannot afford the plastic sheet, as it is too expensive," said Ramesh, an auto driver.
G Ravi Kumar, president, Tengalana Auto Drivers Union, says, "The Covid pandemic has affected the livelihoods of many auto-drivers. Many have opted for other sources of income. The drivers continuing with the business are witnessing a reduced income as a result they are unable to bear the expenses of sanitizers and others. The drivers are unable to follow all the guidelines like sanitising the vehicles after each ride and putting plastic sheets between the passengers as the plastic sheet is very expensive," he said.