Hyderabad: Auto drivers on edge as different factors add to financial distress
- AITUC demands govt to announce a moratorium
- Almost 90 per cent of the 1.5 lakh vehicles are under finance and as there is no moratorium announced by the government, the financiers have already started seizing vehicles over delay of EMIs
Hyderabad: While the increase of relaxation hours during lockdown brought some relief to the auto drivers, most of them continue to live on the edge as they try their best to not get caught by the traffic police or financiers on the road, as vehicle seizure has become a common adding to their financial distress.
Following the enforcement of the latest lockdown, most of the autos went off-road as the drivers could barely make money for a living. The extension of relaxation hours even though provided some scope for earning, also added to risk factors.
Now besides tracking passengers during this limited time, they also needed to keep watchful eyes. The possibility of a seizure by traffic cops over challans and seizures by financier's men over delay of payment looms large. "Even though we started taking out our autos during relaxation time, there is always the fear of getting caught and seizure of vehicles which provide a livelihood. Almost 90 per cent of the 1.5 lakh vehicles are under finance and as there is no moratorium announced by the government, the financiers have already started seizing vehicles over delay of EMIs (Equated Monthly Instalment)," said Shams Uddin, a resident of Khilwat.
He explained that the 'compound interest' imposed is further pushing the auto wallahs to the brink. Even a few days' delay in payment sets the ball rolling. For instance, if the EMI of Rs 10,000 is delayed by a month the interest which is Rs 500 gets doubled and another month's delay gets tripled, and to forcefully extract vehicles are seized.
The AITUC's Auto Rickshaw Drivers Union has demanded that the government announce a moratorium, as drivers were already suffering from financial losses. "Besides the moratorium, the State government should announce some relief or assistance like other States Kerala, Delhi or neighbouring Andhra Pradesh which have extended financial assistance," said Mohd Umar Khan, State vice president of the Union.
Meanwhile, apart from registering cases against the lockdown violators, the city police have recently seized 5,215 vehicles including many autos and issued heavy challans.