Express news service
HYDERABAD: It had been just over a year since B Kanakaiah started driving his brand new taxi, when COVID-19 hit, dashing his hopes of earning a decent income.
Kanakaiah is among the thousands of taxi drivers who have faced the impact of COVID. As of March 2020, almost all IT workers started working from home. His earnings were affected and this resulted in a delay in the payment of IMEs to his vehicle, which was eventually seized.
By the time he mustered the courage to start from scratch and spent over Rs 1 lakh on formalities, including paperwork, the IT company, citing that his vehicle was over three years old, did not respond to his request. .
âI was earning over Rs 60,000. These two years have brought us despair. Despite all the efforts, I find it difficult to make a living with around Rs 22,000 in private bookings. Many of my friends have already gone to d ‘Other professions, like taking Some people’ s vehicles pick up dust, as some now drive freight cars, ambulances and private drivers, âsaid taxi driver Kankaiah, a resident of Amberpet.
According to the Telangana Taxi and Drivers Joint Action Committee (JAC), there were some 35,000 taxis commuting between IT workers in the IT corridor to different destinations, before COVID.
V Sudhakar, another taxi driver, is unable to maintain his own vehicle and is hired as a driver for a family. âI was earning between Rs 20,000 and Rs 25,000 and now I’m getting close to half. After the second lockdown was lifted, we hoped to work for an IT company. Losing hope as some of my friends from Malakpet and other places have joined as day laborers, as this can ensure them a regular salary to support families, âhe said.
Most of the drivers have already sold their vehicles, while others have kept their vehicles off the road fearing the authorities and unable to afford the costs of renewing papers. “Most continue to be harassed by financiers and the government has not provided any support,” said JAC chairman Shaik Salauddin.