Over 5,000 drivers, cleaners jobless

AFTER THE BOOM: Lorry drivers and cleaners in Chitradurga are finding it hard to get work.

AFTER THE BOOM: Lorry drivers and cleaners in Chitradurga are finding it hard to get work.  

Firoz Rozindar

Chitradurga: For the past over six months visiting the private transport office has become a routine for Fayaz who is looking for work.

This 28-year-old lorry driver was busy with work just about six months ago, earning over Rs. 8,000 a month.

Hanumanth, a 23-year-old cleaner of Medehalli village of the taluk, is also making similar attempts to get work as he has to look after a family of five members.

Fayaz and Hanumanth are among the over 5,000 drivers and cleaners of Chitradurga district who have become victims of the recession in the mining industry.

About six months ago, mining activities saw a boom in the district, resulting in the proliferation of lorry owners who handed out jobs to a large number of drivers and cleaners.

But owing to a slowdown in the mining business, not only the lorry owners but also those dependent on them for jobs are suffering greatly.

Mining has come to a grinding halt following the global recession and the termination of the agreement with China which used to buy ore from India.

The district has 15 authorised mining units which hired lorries and tippers to transport ore to Mangalore and Karwar ports.

According to the president of the district Lorry Owners’ Association, Eshwarswamy, Chitradurga has 2,000 10-wheeler lorries and nearly 600 tippers that required the services of over 5,000 drivers and cleaners.

“The drivers used to get three or four consignments a week. With that they earned Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 9,000 a month, while cleaners earned Rs. 120 to Rs. 150 a day. But now the drivers hardly earn Rs. 2,000 a month as the owners are not receiving any fresh consignments,” he said.

Only one mine

He said that of the 15 mines, work is taking place in only one.

Now, nearly 4,000 lorries of Chitradurga and neighbouring districts have been forced to depend on this only working mine, he said.

Lorry owner M. Mahendra said that most of the owners are in distress.

On the one hand they are not receiving fresh consignments and on the other they are getting notices from banks seeking repayment of loans.

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