News Karnataka
Friday, November 26 2021


Covid on one side and online booking platforms on the other have hit autodrivers hard: Kamalesh

Dubai: The 8th episode of Subalterns by Village TV Trust, Mangaluru and St. Loyola College, Bengaluru was held on Friday November 19.

With the objective of ‘P2P – Local to Global’, the show is aimed at providing a platform for unheard young voices of the society and thus create a supportive environment.

The programme host was Kiran Nirkan. The weekly programme is in Kannada.

In the beginning of the programme host Kiran Nirkan explaining the motto of starting ‘Subalterns’ said, “the new series has been started with an intention to provide a voice to the voiceless people, who belong to the marginalised communities of the society. As a part of the decennial celebrations of NewsKarnataka, we have undertaken this initiative.”

Speaking further he welcomed all the participants of the talk show series.

Sahana K., daughter of Kamalesh and Vinutha was the special guest for the day. Her father is an autorickshaw driver.

Answering the host on his career life, Kamalesh said to have been working in a garment shop and quit it due to health issues. Currently working as an autorickshaw driver, he said to have been earning 500 to 600 rupees per day out of which most of the share will be spent on fuelling the vehicle.

Citing the inconvenience caused to his work life due to Covid, Kamalesh said that he owns the autorickshaw bought with finance loan and the Covid crisis made him pay back the loan by taking a debt.

Clearing the doubt raised by the host on government’s aid to autorickshaw drivers during Covid, Kamalesh said that he recevied the sum of Rs. 5000 from the Central Government and Rs. 3000 from the State Government.

He also said, Covid on one side and the online booking platforms like OLA and Uber on the other side have hit his occupation hard.

Dr. Kumaraswamy Bijjihalli, Head of the Kannada Department in Loyola College, Bengaluru said that it is the responsibility of the educated society to discuss on the issues of this downtroden community which we tend to ignore. At the same time, auto driving is one such profession which can be added under Transport Department of the government. And so, Why not utilise the Government’s theme of digital india and bring in OLA and Uber like provision under Government control? When private companies are charging 40% benifit frim the drivers, the government can aid the drivers by charging the sum of 10% and extend the helping hand, he suggested.

Unless one is economically empowered there comes no respect and so why not our representatives or citizens make this demand with the government is my question, said Bijjihalli to host’s question on the provisions available to ease the economic crisis of autorickshaw drivers.

Bijjihalli also said that Subalterns is a wonderful programme. Loyola College has many students who belong to such marginalised families. Our college gives admissions to the students of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes, Ahinda and all the marginalised communities. We are very happy that NewsKarnataka has come forward and given a platform to express their woes.

Kiran extended the gratitude to all participants of the programme and signed off.

Sumayya Parveen A.

Sumayya is a Journalism, Eng. Literature and History Graduate & IAS Aspirant. She is also a budding writer and poetess.

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