Equated Monthly Installment(EMI) become a nightmare for cab drivers, as pandemic induced lockdown hits their income. Drivers look towards the government for assistance.
Warangal: In the midst of the pandemic, cab drivers in Telangana, who are slowly recovering from the impact of the first lockdown, fear financiers as they struggle to pay their monthly installments because the second wave has denied them their income.Uber driver, Ashok said that due to the pandemic, he is struggling a lot to pay his monthly EMIs and room rent. “I’m afraid of the financiers because I have not even paid my monthly EMI for the past four months. They can seize my car any time now.”
Shiva Vulkunadaka, state president of Telangana Cab Drivers and Owners Association (TCDOA), said that cab drivers are facing a lot of problems due to the pandemic. Between 2016 and 2017, there were around 1.20 lakh commercial vehicles in Hyderabad but by 2021 it reduced to 20,000 vehicles due to the financial crisis because of Covid-19.
“I am facing financial problems due to the pandemic. I took the car in installments from the help of Mahindra finance. My income has reduced to less than half of what I used to make before the pandemic. Before the pandemic I earned Rs. 45,000 every month. but now I am not even getting Rs.10,000 per month. There is not much income now. I am struggling to pay my monthly EMIs. Now I am trying to survive by borrowing money from other people,” said Ramesh, a private cab driver in Hanamkonda, Telangana.
Cab driver Anand, a resident of Warangal, is now doing some other business to pay his EM’s. “Since the inception of the pandemic, my car business has become dull; all the money I got when I rented the car was enough to pay EMIs for only a few months, from the past one year I have not received any financial assistance from the government, ” he said.
Most cab drivers sold their cabs because they could not pay their monthly EMIs, mainly due to the lockdown in 2020. “The Telangana government did not give rations to cab drivers when the Central government imposed nationwide lockdown in 2020, and now the state has imposed another lockdown within 24 hours of announcing rations to cab drivers. Due to this reason they are struggling financially, as they cannot afford to pay monthly car installments and run their homes at the same time,” said Mr. Shiva
“To stop the spread of coronavirus, imposing a lockdown is the only option for the government, but at the same time it can seriously affect small businesses like cab drivers. To help them during the epidemic, the government should give them some financial stability,” said Mr Kumaraswamy, an economics professor in Deshiya Vidyashala college Arts and Science College, Shivamogga.
However, Arun (name changed), employee in Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Company in Warangal said that last year, they gave a moratorium for cab drivers who could not pay monthly EMIs due to the lockdown, but currently they were charging regular EMIs because they have no information about moratorium from the government. “If car owners have trouble paying regular EMIs, they should go to the nearest bank, the banks will help,” he said.