Madurai

Auto drivers under financial, psychological stress

Many of them find it hard to make ends meets

MADURAI

In the wake of nationwide lockdown following COVID 19 outbreak, autorickshaw drivers in the city have not only been hit financially, but also psychologically. Though they understand the step has been initiated due to a medical emergency, it is hard to make ends meet, they say.

“I have not used my autorickshaw from the day the lockdown was announced. On a normal day, the day’s earning would be used for buying essential commodities. But, now I can only buy them in small quantities,” says S. Murugan, an autorickshaw driver from Othakadai.

Mr. Murugan, who receives customers throughout the day normally, says that it is difficult for him to sit idle at home. “I spend time playing with my kids and watching the television,” he says, adding he is already under stress due to his present financial condition.

“I use to go the extra mile as I have a loan to repay. But, now I have to borrow more money in order to feed my family,” says K. Pandi from Melamadai. “Only if I work extra after the lockdown is lifted will I be able to earn enough to pay back the loan,” he says.

“I buy the essential commodities from a shop I know in my neighbourhood. I have told the shopkeeper that I would pay the amount after my financial situation improves. He has accepted my request as he understands my position even though it is a burden on him,” he says.

Agreeing with him, R. Marimuthu, who operates from Indira Nagar, says he too has been caught up in the financial and psychological stress. “I live in a joint family, so we are able to share the burden. Still, I had to pledge my wife’s jewels to get cash to buy essential commodities,” he says.

Many autorickshaw drivers say they have understood that it is important for them to stay indoors to stay safe. They hope that the situation gets better so that they can get back to work in order to make the ends meets.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 2:45:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/auto-drivers-under-financial-psychological-stress-madurai/article31274161.ece

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