Dhanbad, India – Md Nisar a.k.a Dablu, a taxi driver of Wasseypur, was leading a content life with a monthly income of around Rs 10,000 till the lockdown dealt a blow.
The 35-year-old, who supports a family of seven, including wife, four children and a septuagenarian father, has spent all his savings and is now solely dependent on the food distributed by the NGOs.
“I had savings of Rs 7,000, which was spent in meeting food expenses and the treatment of my ailing wife. We are somehow surviving on the food being distributed at khichdi centres. I don’t even have the money to buy medicines for my wife,” he said.
Nisar said he had received Rs 500 provided by the Centre through his wife’s Jan Dhan account, but that was hardly enough to meet his expenses.
“My situation is more desperate because I don’t even have a BPL (below poverty line) card,” he said.
Another taxi driver of Panderpala locality in Dhanbad, Mehendi Hasan, said the condition of around 300 drivers of the taxi stand outside Dhanbad railway station was similar.
“Those having BPL cards are slightly in a better position because they are getting ration. I have a family of seven to support. Moreover, I have to pay rent for the place where I live. Merely providing food is not enough to end all our miseries,” Hasan said.
Taxi driver Mohammed Ezaz, 40, said Dhanbad station, which used to see an average footfall of around 20,000 persons per day, was considered to be the busiest station of the region and none of the over 300 taxi drivers faced any difficulty in eking out the living.
“None of us had imagined that things will come to such a pass. We would request the government to provide compensation to taxi and auto driver because we don’t think we will be allowed to operate any time soon,” Ezaz said.
– Source: Praduman Choubey – telegraphindia.com