CWG a bane for Noida auto-drivers

More than 3,700 of 4,000 autos in Noida have been barred from plying on Noida roads during CWG

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | September 30, 2010


Satyaprakash (in white shirt) will be unemployed for the period that the Games are on - like most others.
Satyaprakash (in white shirt) will be unemployed for the period that the Games are on - like most others.

Satyaprakash Tiwari, 41, is a witness of Noida's transition from endless stretches of farmlands and wilderness to Delhi's satellite city. Originally from Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh, he has been living in the national capital region for the past two and a half decades. Life has been kind to him here - at least, kinder than it was at his village. But today, as the NCR gets decked up for the XIX Commonwealth Games, Satyaprakash sees the lights dimming for him. He is one of the 3,720 Noida auto-rickshaw drivers who have been asked to keep their autos off the roads during the Games. So, effectively, it means that  Noida will have just 280 autos servicing the city's commuters.

The Noida authorities have issued identity cards for those permitted to run their autos - the rest will have to contend with temporary unemployment.

"How will I be able to feed my family of seven during the Games,” Satyaprakash worries.

The permits were being issued from September 15 - more than a fortnight before the Games. The number of permits had been intentionally kept low.

Satyaprakash's friend Subodh, 40, understands irony but doesn't articulate it. A few months back, all he could think of was the prospect of increased income from tourists and vistors 'flocking' the city (the government had expected over 200,000 visitors, in Delhi solely for the Games. A little more than 2,000 have arrived so far). Today, without a permit, he will have no income while the Commonwealth nations tally medals' haul and celebrate podium-finishes.

“I might have to return to my place in Etawah for those many days when I won’t be able to earn even a single rupee here,” he says.

20-year-old Anil Kumar Chaudhary was standing outside the Sector 16 metro station in Noida with his cycle rickshaw when I walked up to him to speak. He comes there early in the morning everyday - and leaves late in the evening. An all-weather "pedaller", Anil, on his sunny days makes Rs 150.

On Wednesday morning, a cop came to his rickshaw stand and dourly stated that after October no cycle rickshaw or auto rickshaw would be allowed in the city.

Chaudhary is now contemplating a month-long forced holiday at his hometown Nawada in Bihar.

“I will go back to my place with my other two brothers who are also rickshawallahs. I am working here for past seven years but I have been asked to leave this city just because of the Games,” he sighs. 

  

 

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