Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], September 9 (ANI): Auto and taxi drivers in Punjab have urged the government to provide financial assistance to them amid hardships in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
The government has relaxed the guidelines implemented for COVID-19 amid Unlock 4 and functioning of interstate trains has also been permitted. Autorickshaw drivers and taxi drivers have been seeking passengers at the railway station. However, with COVID-19 spread still being feared, there are very few passengers.
Paras Ram, an autorickshaw driver told ANI, "There are very few passengers on the train as only two trains are running here. Most of the time it is deserted as we rarely get any customers."
Echoing the same sentiment, another autorickshaw driver Jai Prakash Tiwari said, " The situation is even worse for us in the city area. We are running vehicles in the hope to find even one passenger as we are in a financial mess."
In the absence of business, these drivers are demanding financial package by way of postponing loan premiums of their vehicles and sought a rebate in taxes to tide over the difficult time.
Balwant Saini, a taxi driver said that our business mainly runs on tourism. "Due to coronavirus, there are no tourists which has led to this critical situation for us," said Saini.
"The government has not provided any relief package. We were already bearing losses and with no financial assistance, we remain helpless. We have to pay the insurance premiums for our vehicles. Even our permits are getting expired," he added.
"I would urge the government to relieve us from tax and loan instalment for at least two years," said Saini.
Jagjit Singh, another taxi driver said that coronavirus has only escalated the problems being faced by the industry. "We were already suffering from the hike in taxes and vehicle permits. But the coronavirus has left all of us to die," said Singh.
"There is no business and the government has not helped us in any way. There is no relief in insurance premiums, among others," he said.
According to Singh, the situation can be eased with the financial packages. (ANI)