The growth of the city has increased distances, forcing people to prefer motorised transport to the good old cycle rickshaw.
Thousands eked out a living, transporting people from one neighbourhood to another in these three-wheeled cycles. They were available to customers, most of them regular, round the clock and seven days a week. Most of the trains reach the Vijayawada station during odd hours and it was the friendly rickshaw-puller who took the tired travellers home in the absence of other public transport.
Vijayawada was famous for the cycle rickshaw and the ‘goli soda’. While the goli soda has totally vanished, the cycle rickshaw is still struggling to survive.
The summers are by far the most difficult season for the rickshaw-puller because the rickshaw is the home for many. Rickshaw-pullers sleeping huddled up in the source of their livelihood is not an uncommon sight even these days.
The number of people who eke out a living pulling the rickshaw has diminished greatly. The few still pulling a rickshaw have become a beleaguered lot. None of them have the dress or gear needed to protect themselves from the sun.
The youth wing of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations provided 88 richshaw-pullers items they needed to beat the heat. Starting with a cap to shield their head and slippers to protect their feet, the rickshaw-pullers were given a pet water bottle and energy power sachets.
All the 88 were also given a photograph of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and his sacred ‘vibhudi’. The distribution of these items to the rickshaw-puller who still depend on manual labour to make a living is a rare gesture.
Youth wing of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations gives 88 of them a cap, slippers, water bottle, and energy power sachets to help them beat the heat