Only 15% of the 7,75,000 the taxi and auto drivers in Karnataka, who were promised a one-time payment of Rs 5,000 from the Karnataka government as compensation during the COVID-19 pandemic have received the due amount till date.
A total of 2.44 lakh eligible beneficiaries had applied for the Rs 5,000 one-time relief as announced by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa. Incidentally, less than 30% of the estimated 7,75,000 auto and taxi drivers, who are eligible for the compensation, have applied for it so far.
Hemanth Kumar, Assistant Commissioner of Transport, Karnataka, said that a total of 1.20,000 beneficiaries have been paid the sum as promised by the Chief Minister. It may be recalled that Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on May 6 announced a Rs 1,610 crore compensation package for easing the economic difficulties of people in the state.
Hemanth Kumar said the department is sending an SMS (short messaging service) to every eligible beneficiary who has not registered for the compensation.
âWe have got Rs 60 crore so far from the government and we have distributed the same amount,â Hemanth Kumar told TNM.
Kumar said that at present, there is an issue of a fund shortage. He said the top brass of the transport department will request the Finance Department to release more funds for the same.
TNM has reported that taxi drivers had held a âfuneral rites protestâ against the Karnataka governmentâs âfalse promise of compensationâ outside the office of Transport Commissioner at Shantinagar, Bengaluru, in mid-May.
The protests were held as the Transport Department had failed to ready a mechanism for the drivers to register for the compensation drive even after a month of the announcement.
Auto and taxi drivers in Bengaluru had told TNM that their regular business has been disrupted since March and their income had gone down to nil during the first two phases of lockdown. A large number of drivers had to depend on help from their relatives and neighbours due to lack of government or any other aide.