New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) The Coronavirus scare has not only shut movie businesses and brought the aviation industry to its knees but even the humble green and yellow auto rickshaws of Delhi are finding it tough to stay afloat.
“There's a lot of panic among people. And we are facing the ripple effect. Earlier we use to earn Rs 500 – Rs 600 a day. Now that has come down to Rs 200 – Rs 250 a day,” said Jitendra who has come from Uttar Pradesh to earn a living by plying autos.
Though many offices have asked its employees to work from home, that is not a luxury the auto-rickshaw drivers can afford. IANS caught such rickshaws waiting for half an hour at a stretch outside the Hauz Khas Metro station, hoping for a passenger.
Many of them are willing to ferry passengers at a subsidized rate, but lack of passengers are making it almost impossible for many of them, particularly those who survive on rented autos.
However, they too have been careful about their hygiene with many of them using hand sanitizers regularly and putting a mask while plying.
“Kya Kare sir, khyal to rakhna padega na? (What to do sir? We have to take care of ourselves),” said Rohit, another auto driver.
At 11 a.m., when the metro stations in Delhi keeps bustling with passengers Hauz Khas metro station wears a relatively deserted look. Occasional few would step out or go in. A lady wearing a mask was seen cleaning the stairs with disinfectants, part of Delhi Metro's efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.
It's the same story across the national capital – be it Kailash Colony of South Delhi or Civil Lines in the north or for that matter City Centre in Noida, a suburb city off Delhi.
So far in India, 147 people have been found infected. Three have died so far, one of them being from the national capital. The Delhi Government was among the first in the country to announce a total shutdown of educational institutions, gyms, theatres and other places of congregations. Indian government has already declared the virus a ‘notified disaster'.