Coming Up Thu 5:00 PM  AEST
Coming Up Live in 
Hindi radio

Plight of 500,000 autorickshaw drivers as lockdown halts income

An Indian man on his bike passes the parked auto rickshaw during a nation wide lockdown in Mumbai, India, 15 May 2020. Source: AAP

The long lockdown in India has left thousands of autorickshaw drivers starving.

The lockdown across India due to coronavirus has adversely affected the lives of daily wage workers which includes more than 500,000 autorickshaw drivers in Mumbai 


  • There are more than 500,000 daily wage-earning auto-rickshaw drivers in Mumbai 
  • Most of the auto-rickshaw drivers come from Bihar, Rajasthan, UP, and Madhya Pradesh.
  • The biggest problem they face today is one of starvation.


"Many of them are facing starvation and some of them who left for their villages have been killed in highway road accidents," Mr K. K. Tiwari, the president of Mumbai's Auto-rickshaw Union told SBS Hindi.

K K Tiwari President of Autorickshaw Drivers Union

Most of the auto-rickshaw drivers in Mumbai are migrant workers from Bihar, UP, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

They have been out of business for many weeks prior to the lockdown was announced on March 25 in India.

Since schools and colleges had started closing down before the lockdown, the drivers were left with little business. 

An auto-rickshaw driver earns about INR 500 on an average per day.

Some live with their families in little rooms while others live in shared accommodation, shared by up to eight drivers, Mr Tiwari reveals.

"About 60% of the drivers are stuck in Mumbai and are unable to return to their villages because no trains are available for them.

"Some tried to get back to their village which could be about a 1,000 km away from Mumbai in their own rickshaw and met with fatal accidents," Mr Tiwari says.

Mr Tiwari claims many have fallen sick due to heat and congested accommodation but have no money to go to the doctor.

“Often doctors themselves have shut their dispensaries, so these people just don’t know where to go,” he adds.

“Thank God for some community organizations who are trying their best to feed these people in dire need. Their biggest problem is starvation. When we go to them with food, some of them break down crying because they and kids haven't eaten for two days,” Mr Tiwari says.

Follow SBS Hindi’s special coverage of COVID-19 outbreak 

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits. 

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store. 

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at 

Tune into SBS Hindi at 5 pm every day and follow us on Facebook and Twitter  

Coming up next

Plight of 500,000 autorickshaw drivers as lockdown halts income 21/05/2020 08:34 ...
News in Hindi 03 June 2020 03/06/2020 11:29 ...
News in Hindi 02 June 2020 02/06/2020 11:25 ...
'Adventure of a life time,' says Aussie-Indian man returning after months 02/06/2020 09:00 ...
Government mulls cash grants for new home construction and major renovation projects 02/06/2020 05:40 ...
'Real estate market has adapted nicely despite taking a hit in the lockdown' 02/06/2020 08:00 ...
Hindi News 1 June 2020 01/06/2020 10:00 ...
ScoMosa by Australian PM 'goes beyond symbolism' 01/06/2020 15:00 ...
Hindi News 29th May 2020 29/05/2020 10:29 ...
Shyamla Eswaran wins the Australian National Maritime Museum Arts and Culture Medal 29/05/2020 09:00 ...
View More