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06-03-2020     3 رجب 1440

Poverty Makes you Invisible  

May 23, 2020 | Azhar Javaid Khanday

 

"Poverty is not lack of character. It is lack of money. A lack of opportunity. A lack of investment. It is when it turns its back and makes you invisible".
Poverty is an enemy to human happiness. It certainly destroys liberty. It makes some virtues impracticable and others extremely difficult.
Today I will tell you about an average day in the life of a Kashmiri driver. Disturbances remain prevalent almost throughout the year, which affects business units adversely. Daily wage earners are badly hit by such interruptions in daily life. Be it strike or pandemic lockdown, it comes down hard on the poor, who scarcely make both ends meet. During such difficult times, employees whether in government or private sector, draw their salary on time. While craftsmen and labourers somehow find a bit of work and get their wages accordingly, and shopkeepers have a considerable customer-base to count on, the worst hit are drivers who rely solely on transporting people or goods from place to place.
Lockdowns and strikes cause road closures and restrictions on movement of people. As law-abiding citizens, drivers cannot ply their vehicles under such circumstances. Violation of law would lead them to be slapped with heavy fines or even seizing of their vehicles, which nobody ever would like to go through. If during a public protest, an uninformed driver unintentionally drives into a lane of protestors, he risks his vehicle being damaged by the stone-pelting and may become a target of an angry mob.
Weather conditions in Kashmir do not allow drivers to be employed all year round. Also, the roads are not always in the best of shape to allow for smooth driving. The meager earnings are mostly directed towards maintenance of vehicles, tax payments and toll charges. Families of vehicle drivers cannot think of elaborate plans, as the small savings end up being used during off-season when drivers don't find work or the roads are blocked due to bad weather. Also, many drivers have bought their vehicles on credit, and paying EMI every month is a mammoth task in itself. As the vehicle is mortgaged, failing to pay the monthly installments for a consecutive couple of months results in the financing institution seizing the vehicle? This is a sad scenario where the livelihood of the driver is snatched away with an additional burden of repayment of loan. If at the time of purchasing his vehicle, a driver does not have enough money to insure it, he generally skips this step. But it burns a hole in the pocket when getting repairs done for even minor damages to the vehicle.
Owning and maintaining transport vehicles for commercial use is a costly affair, as taxes which include National permit tax or inter-state tax amount to up to Rs.40000 for passenger ferrying vehicles and Rs.100000 for goods carriers. This is an exorbitant amount given the limited earnings these drivers make through the year. This has led to drivers borrowing money from friends, neighbors and relatives, only to add to their loan woes.
When highways are closed due to harsh weather and repair works, it is the driver who is severely affected as it takes days together for the road to become functional again. All this while, vehicles are stranded on the road and drivers are forced to stay put in the nearest available hotel or inn, where they are overcharged owing to their helplessness.
Sometimes, drivers are also abused by traffic personnel too. This should not be happening in a place where there is respect for all human beings. This has reduced the overall morale of the driver community. Let's stop pretending that money alone will change everything. Empathy and respect would significantly ease the hardships and challenges faced by drivers. Support in the form of generous relaxations will definitely go a long way in boosting their morale.
"Respect others as thou would like to be respected".

 

 

 

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Poverty Makes you Invisible  

May 23, 2020 | Azhar Javaid Khanday

 

"Poverty is not lack of character. It is lack of money. A lack of opportunity. A lack of investment. It is when it turns its back and makes you invisible".
Poverty is an enemy to human happiness. It certainly destroys liberty. It makes some virtues impracticable and others extremely difficult.
Today I will tell you about an average day in the life of a Kashmiri driver. Disturbances remain prevalent almost throughout the year, which affects business units adversely. Daily wage earners are badly hit by such interruptions in daily life. Be it strike or pandemic lockdown, it comes down hard on the poor, who scarcely make both ends meet. During such difficult times, employees whether in government or private sector, draw their salary on time. While craftsmen and labourers somehow find a bit of work and get their wages accordingly, and shopkeepers have a considerable customer-base to count on, the worst hit are drivers who rely solely on transporting people or goods from place to place.
Lockdowns and strikes cause road closures and restrictions on movement of people. As law-abiding citizens, drivers cannot ply their vehicles under such circumstances. Violation of law would lead them to be slapped with heavy fines or even seizing of their vehicles, which nobody ever would like to go through. If during a public protest, an uninformed driver unintentionally drives into a lane of protestors, he risks his vehicle being damaged by the stone-pelting and may become a target of an angry mob.
Weather conditions in Kashmir do not allow drivers to be employed all year round. Also, the roads are not always in the best of shape to allow for smooth driving. The meager earnings are mostly directed towards maintenance of vehicles, tax payments and toll charges. Families of vehicle drivers cannot think of elaborate plans, as the small savings end up being used during off-season when drivers don't find work or the roads are blocked due to bad weather. Also, many drivers have bought their vehicles on credit, and paying EMI every month is a mammoth task in itself. As the vehicle is mortgaged, failing to pay the monthly installments for a consecutive couple of months results in the financing institution seizing the vehicle? This is a sad scenario where the livelihood of the driver is snatched away with an additional burden of repayment of loan. If at the time of purchasing his vehicle, a driver does not have enough money to insure it, he generally skips this step. But it burns a hole in the pocket when getting repairs done for even minor damages to the vehicle.
Owning and maintaining transport vehicles for commercial use is a costly affair, as taxes which include National permit tax or inter-state tax amount to up to Rs.40000 for passenger ferrying vehicles and Rs.100000 for goods carriers. This is an exorbitant amount given the limited earnings these drivers make through the year. This has led to drivers borrowing money from friends, neighbors and relatives, only to add to their loan woes.
When highways are closed due to harsh weather and repair works, it is the driver who is severely affected as it takes days together for the road to become functional again. All this while, vehicles are stranded on the road and drivers are forced to stay put in the nearest available hotel or inn, where they are overcharged owing to their helplessness.
Sometimes, drivers are also abused by traffic personnel too. This should not be happening in a place where there is respect for all human beings. This has reduced the overall morale of the driver community. Let's stop pretending that money alone will change everything. Empathy and respect would significantly ease the hardships and challenges faced by drivers. Support in the form of generous relaxations will definitely go a long way in boosting their morale.
"Respect others as thou would like to be respected".

 

 

 


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Owner, Printer, Publisher, Editor: Farooq Ahmad Wani
Legal Advisor: M.J. Hubi
Printed at: Abid Enterprizes, Zainkote Srinagar
Published from: Gulshanabad Chraresharief Budgam
RNI No.: JKENG/2010/33802
Office No’s: 0194-2451076, 9622924716 , 9419400056
Postal Regd No: SK/135/2010-2019
Administrative Office: Abi Guzer Srinagar

© Copyright 2018 brighterkashmir.com All Rights Reserved.