CHENNAI: With the city turning into a ghost town due to lock down, cab, auto drivers and food delivery executives, who are solely dependent on their daily earnings, feel the pinch as their daily revenue has become zero.
Associations of cab and auto drivers said that due to the extended lock down, they now won't be able to pay off their daily car rent, loan dues, and won't have a net revenue to take back home. "Initially we thought we could resume after March 31 but the extended lockdown has dashed our hopes of a revival," said Anbazhagan, General Secretary of the CITU-Transport.
He added that for shared autos the rent would be Rs 450 while for Tata Magic it would be Rs 600 and taxis would be Rs. 800. "If we earn Rs 1300 per day, around 400 to 500 stays in our hand after paying the rent. We don’t know what we will do in the coming days," he said.
Though Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has announced a special relief fund of Rs 1000 from his Rs. 3280 crore announced recently, the association members said it may not be sufficient.
"Given that a monthly rent for autos range between 3,000 to 6000, how will Rs 1000 be sufficient? We request the CM to increase it to at least Rs 5,000 as we will have no job till mid-April," said M Sivaji of Tamil Nadu Auto Drivers' Union.
Sivaji said that the roads look empty and it looks like only people with private transport can commute for emergencies. "Even if some very restricted amount of autos were allowed, people can take them for emergencies and those auto drivers will have some revenue. Right now, all the autos are biting dust at home," he said.
Meanwhile, with the civic body on Wednesday announcing that Swiggy and Zomato are banned, the food delivery executives have become another worst affected lot due to the lockdown. "If delivery boys are provided proper gloves, face masks and sanitizers, they can even keep the food at the house door so that customers can collect it without touching," said Tapas Dev, a food delivery executive with Swiggy.
He said that there are about 5,000 food executives in the city and letting some of them work also will help people staying indoors.