Madurai

Reopen inter-district borders: van operators

Tourist van operators pleading with police personnel to let their representatives submit their petition to Collector T. G. Vinay at the Madurai Collectorate on Monday.

Tourist van operators pleading with police personnel to let their representatives submit their petition to Collector T. G. Vinay at the Madurai Collectorate on Monday.  

A section of tourist van operators from across the district petitioned Collector T.G. Vinay here on Monday seeking reopening of inter-district borders or easy access to e-passes to travel within Tamil Nadu so that they could resume work by taking adequate precautions.

A. Selvam, their representative who spoke to the press, said tourist van operators were without work ever since COVID-19 related lockdown started more than four months back because of the strict restrictions imposed by the Central and State governments in terms of vehicle movement. He said, with no income, many tourist van operators and drivers like him had borrowed heavily and accumulated huge debts. Since banks refused to provide them loans, many were forced to borrow from unconventional sources.

“The moneylenders and financial companies from whom some of us availed loans, are demanding ₹1.20 lakh as interest alone. Only if we start driving will we even attempt to repay them,” he said. If inter-district travel was allowed, many drivers will be able to resume making regular income instead of accumalating more and more debts. “We will, of course, sanitise our vehicles and disallow crowding inside our vehicles. Because we also want to be safe,” he said.

Mr. Selvam added that it would be helpful for drivers if tourist van insurance (renewed in January) could be extended till the end of the year. “We have barely made use of the insurance in these last four months,” he said.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 5:08:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/reopen-inter-district-borders-van-operators/article32261564.ece

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