Guwahati: Residents of Guwahati city in Assam's Kamrup (M) were in for a surprise when they saw vegetables being sold out of the trunk of an Alto car in the Kahilipara locality.
Closer inspection revealed that the vegetable business was being run by Sonmoni Saikia, a down-on-his-luck Uber driver from the city whose source of income has run completely dry during the lockdown that has been called by the Government to contain the spread of the infectious COVID-19 disease.
Saikia says that he runs a family of 5, and he has no option but to sell vegetables – which are some of the essential items being allowed for sale by the Government. The Uber driver said that earlier, he used to pocket a neat Rs. 1,200 each day (excluding fuel expenditure), but now, his earnings are sure to diminish greatly. "Earlier, I would have around Rs. 700 left after all expenditure which was barely enough to feed 5 mouths; now, however, there are sad tidings for I cannot expect to earn more than Rs. 400 from this business. Thus, you can say that my earnings have halved", he laments.
"We have not been able to pay EMIs since the anti-CAA Andolan, and the lockdown has stretched on for 4 months. Our sources of income have dried up. It is a pity that we still have to pay for the interests. Would have been grateful if the interest had been waived", rued Saikia, a Kahilipara resident.
Sonmoni Saikia was earning a decent amount of moolah for a middle-class lifestyle as a Uber driver. But now, he has been forced to take up selling vegetables to support his family and earn a living. Since the anti-CAA agitation, Saikia laments, his lot has been facing tough times and the drivers who bought the vehicle amid the e-taxi boom in the state, are now left unable to clear their EMIs for their car loans.
The Uber driver is among thousands upon thousands who have been hit by the double whammy of the CAA agitation and the lockdown, with a single question on their minds: achche din when?