Delhi rickshaw-puller helps people fight lockdown crisis

Uttam Kumar Singh outside Moti Nagar metro station on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Hemani Bhandari

A rickshaw-puller outside Moti Nagar metro station here, on spotting an old woman with stooped shoulders walking towards the station with a bag in her hand, asked her: “Kahin chhor doon mataji? [Can I drop you somewhere?].”

“I don’t have money,” the woman responded. The rickshaw-puller took the bag from her hand while saying: “It’s okay. Come sit.”

The woman, who had to reach her residence in Raghubir Nagar, was on her way back from Acharya Shree Bhikshu Hospital. The rickshaw-puller, later identified as Uttam Kumar Singh, dropped the woman at Rajouri Garden, a few metres away from the police barricades there as he was gripped in the fear of getting stopped. Mr. Singh also gave the woman water to drink. He said he did not charge money keeping in mind the situation due to the ongoing lockdown.

Only a few rickshaws are available outside metro stations and hospitals owing to the lockdown and the rickshaw-pullers said that they have not been riding more than a kilometre or two at a stretch because police officers stop them and use batons, “especially after 6 p.m.”.

Mr. Singh, a resident of Kirti Nagar, who has a family of seven to feed, said he had to ride his rickshaw to make ends meet. “I manage to make about ₹100 these days, but I don’t charge people who cannot afford,” he said.

The rickshaw-pullers added that those who don’t own their rickshaws and have taken them on rent are not being asked by the owners for money. “They [owners] know that we are hardly earning anything. They have said that we don’t have to pay the rent during the lockdown,” said Sikandar Bhagat (35), a resident of Moti Nagar.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 2:12:32 PM |

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