Friday, April 10, 2020

Nagaland: Yellow helmets solving unemployment woes

By Our Correspondent Updated: Oct 10, 2019 1:11 am
Two-wheel taxi riders wait for their turn on Wednesday at Razhü Point in Kohima. (EM Images)

Our Correspondent

Kohima, Oct. 9 (EMN): The two-wheel taxi service, which has the motto ‘Be on Time,’ is helping to alleviate office goers and students in Kohima from the traffic congestion, which is a common sight during peak hours in the town.

Identified by their yellow helmets, this service has not only become a secure and convenient means of transport but has also helped many Naga youths with employment.

The riders consist of school dropouts and even master degree holders, among others. The taxi service has created an opportunity for youths to generate income and even in helping their families.

Roko, a son of a government servant, used to stay idle at home before he joined the transportation network. “My family is happy with me now for being able to earn on my own. I start riding in the morning at 8:30 am and leave for the day at 4 pm,” he said.

Some of the challenges of being a taxi rider, he said, was drunken persons and overloading. “Meeting rowdy drunk drivers become a challenge as their security becomes our concern and when passengers request for dual passenger, as it is a violation of the law,” he said.

Aphong, another rider, served as a junior engineer in construction firms for five years before becoming a two-wheel taxi rider. He said his family was reluctant at first as they wanted him to study for competitive examinations. But when he began to earn and become self-reliant, rather than depending on others, he said to have got a positive response from his family.

“At the end of the day, it is a tiresome job but it is interesting as I get the chance to meet new people and know the value of money,” he said.

When queried about the response from his friends, he said, “They laughed and made fun as they consider this (profession) menial for them. I even asked one of my friends to join rather than sitting idle at home but he felt shy to do this job (sic).”

“No work is too small. We must give interest in whatever we do,” said Atsah, another rider. He said that his day starts at 7:30 am and earns approximately INR 1500 besides doing painting work for buildings.

Alo Rengma rides daily from Thizama to Kohima. He said that he was working in a company at Delhi before returning to the state the previous December and joined the yellow helmet company.

“My father retired from service in 2017 and my family only depends on the pension he draws but when I joined this riding, I am able to contribute to my family’s income rather than staying idle at home,” Rengma said.

Speaking to Eastern Mirror, Chumben B Yanthan, president of the Two-Wheeler Taxi Riders’ Association, confirmed that the group has 113 registered riders. However, the regional transport office is yet to issue the permit although the state’s cabinet has already approved legalising the service, he said.

Riders are from different backgrounds, he said adding that the association’s objective is for the welfare of the riders. He expressed happiness that many local youths have come out to engage in income generation.

The association’s president said that after some months, a new online facility will be introduced through which the public can apply online like Ola and Uber to avail the service at convenience.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Oct 10, 2019 1:11:16 am