Covid-19 relief: Online application hurdle for Auto and Taxi Drivers

Cab drivers pandemic

Drivers find it difficult to apply online on the Sindhu Seva portal for COVID-19 relief 

Bengaluru: Auto drivers, taxi and maxi drivers are finding it difficult to navigate the Seva Sindhu portal and have to rely on cyber centres in order to apply for the relief cash. The instructions to fill the information is in Kannada but the application requires the applicants to fill the information in English.

Siddesh, a cab driver who hails from Arsikere said, “I heard about it today. I will have to go to a cyber centre in order to apply. Even though I go to the Seva Sindhu website, it asks for a login ID and a few other things, I find it confusing so it is better if I go to a cyber.” 

Most cyber cafes are shut due to the lockdown imposed by the Karnataka government. 

Guru Murthy, who is from the same town as Siddesh said, “Last time I applied from a cyber as it is difficult for me to navigate the website. This time I will have to ask someone for help as we are in a lockdown.” He also added that only three out of 10 drivers who had applied for the relief in his village received the amount.

Srikanth, an auto driver said he will apply for the relief cash after the lockdown is lifted. “I do not have a smartphone to apply on my own,” he added. Lohith, another  driver said along the same lines. “The cybers are closed now because of the lockdown so I will have to ask someone for help, it is confusing to navigate the website. In addition to this it asks for a lot of information like aadhar number, driving license number, etc. so it is easier for me to apply with someone’s assistance.”

Since the announcement of the COVID-19 relief by the transport department, over 6000 applications have been received.Technical Manager at Seva Sindhu Portal said, “It has only been four hours since the announcement and so far we have received 6,900 applications.”He added that he is expecting more applications until the end of the day.

Drivers also said that the covid relief of Rs. 3000 is inadequate. Praveen Shivaji, a cab driver said that Rs.3000 compensation was not enough and that the government should have given at least Rs.10,000. “Rs. 3000 is not even enough for a month’s ration, we have Equated Monthly Installments (EMIs) to pay every month and if we do not pay, the interest on our loan increases.”

MP Kantharaju, secretary of Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers Union said, “We have sent a memorandum to the government seeking for the disbursement of relief fund for 21,000 applicants who were supposed to receive Rs. 5000, last time when they had announced. This time they have announced Rs. 3000 and it is not at all sufficient. We are protesting against this across all social media platforms and requesting the government to increase the amount.” A report also mentioned that only 15 percent of the auto and taxi drivers received the compensation.

Additional Commissioner Transport department, electronic section, Shivaraj B Patil said, “We have announced just now but we expect better response from the drivers community because we have also included maxi cabs. We are streamlining and stabilizing the process and still in the five days observational period. Only after this we will think of announcing the deadline.”

Dr. Narendra Naik, Sociology Professor at Kamala Nehru Memorial National College, Shimoga said, “The disbursement of Covid relief compensation should be broadcasted through different media so that neighbors or family members of these drivers can help them. Moreover since they are an organized sector, they receive assistance from unions and associations they are a part of.”

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