Dwarka – the planned sub city of National capital was supposed to have all the amenities of a complete city with no major faults. However, since its inception the city has been plagued by numerous problems like garbage dumps on the roadside, pot-holed roads, uncovered sewage holes, no public transport in the interiors of the city and use of public parks for all the other activities except for its actual purpose among many others. But the one I am going to discuss through my blog is about the plight of battery-operated rickshaw pullers, who are trying to earn their humble living by providing quick transport facilities to the residents of Dwarka at reasonable prices. However, it seems there are people who can’t let these poor people earn their living in a decent manner.
It was one of those days when I was looking for some inspiration to write a post on my blog when I got a call from my son’s van driver that he will not be able to pick the kid up from school hence I need to make necessary arrangements. Oh hell! If only I knew how to drive it won’t have been a hassle but then this was not the time to think that. So I shut my lappie, changed my clothes and went out to pick up my son from his school. Son has a fascination for battery operated rickshaws, as they go faster than normal cycle rickshaws and have loads of space for him to spread his legs and sit like a king. This apart, the lower flooring of the rickshaw makes it easier for him to board and de-board it without my help.
So I stepped out, crossed the road to where the battery operated rickshaws had their own stand at Raja Puri Circle and asked one driver if he will go to Bal Bharati Public School, the drivers pointed to one rickshaw standing last in the line and said this will go to Bal Bharati Public School. I boarded the rickshaw and it was then the driver started talking about the plight of all the battery-operated rickshaw pullers. He said his name was Naresh and his rickshaw is known as Raftar in the area. He also said, “Battery rickshaw operators face severe threats from local goons who keep snatching their rickshaws to ply them on other routes. There are no number plates on these rickshaws and there are no licences needed to operate these rickshaws hence anyone can repaint them and operate them on other routes outside Dwarka and we can’t do anything about it.”
He also told me that just few days back a rickshaw puller was hit in the back of his head with a brick and his rickshaw was snatched from him. Though I was moved to hear his plight, I was little sceptical about the entire incident and wanted to have to some substantial grounds to take further action. So when next time I needed a rickshaw I boarded another one and this time I started the conversation with another rickshaw operator Ramesh of rickshaw named Chetak. When he confirmed the incidents and also told me the risky areas from where these rickshaws are being snatched and one of the areas being the Raja Puri Circle. I told him that I will see how can I help them but then a thought struck me and I asked whether or not they have filed a complaint in the nearby police station and this is what he told me.
“Police knows about the plight of these rickshaw operators but can’t do much, as there are no number plates that can be traced. And once these rickshaws are repainted it becomes difficult to recognise them,” he said. Interestingly these rickshaws just have specific names painted on them and both the operators and the rickshaws are known by that name. So, imagine, if that identity is taken away from them they have no way to prove that it is their rickshaw.
My concern is to get these operators some justice because believe it or not they have made commuting within Dwarka quite easy. Please do help me in my efforts to get them justice and a required number plates and licences. Concerned authorities please do look into the matter. Looking forward to your solicitous support in the matter.