Government releases more funds to compensate auto, taxi drivers
Over a lakh autorickshaw and taxi drivers, who have been waiting to get the ₹5,000 compensation announced by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, may finally receive the amount.
Transport Commissioner N. Shivkumar told The Hindu that the State government has released ₹57 crore towards the payment of compensation and the money will be deposited in the accounts of drivers in a few days.
“The department has received 2.45 lakh applications from the drivers on the Seva Sindhu portal, out of which compensation was paid to 1.20 lakh applicants when the State government had released funds last time. Fresh funds will help pay compensation to 1.15 lakh people. For the remaining drivers, we will write to the State government to release more funds.” He said that applications were received till July 31, and there is no proposal to extend the date.
Delay in paying compensation has caused much anger among the drivers. Unions had criticised the government for not releasing the compensation for drivers who continue to face financial distress after the outbreak of COVID-19.
President of Namma Chalakara Trade Union K. Somshekar said, “The CM had announced compensation in the first week of May. Due to several riders fixed by the State government, a majority of the drivers could not apply for the compensation, and those who have applied are waiting for months.”
The State government had estimated that 7 lakh drivers would be eligible, but only 2.45 lakh have applied. Some of the drivers had carried out an online campaign seeking release of funds.
Gandasi Sadanand, president of Indian Vehicles Drivers Trade Union, said, “The act of delaying funds to pay the compensation is highly condemnable. In Bengaluru, auto and taxi drivers are struggling a lot. They are not in a position to earn ₹500 even after spending two days on the road. Many drivers have left the city. The State government must allow more drivers to apply online and release money to those who have already applied.”