DIMAPUR, May 16 - Hit by the ongoing lockdown, around 30 autorickshaw drivers from Dimapur district left for their home State, Bihar, along with their families, in their respective autorickshaws today. A total of 50 people, including the autorickshaw drivers, departed from here around noon.
President of the Dimapur District Auto Drivers� Union Tito Yepthomi said despite several requests, the autorickshaw drivers left for their homes under the compulsion of the prevailing circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yepthomi said that the union had assured to do �something� for them and tried to convince them not to leave Dimapur. But the autorickshaw drivers refused to stay, saying that if they had to die, they would rather die in their own State, he added.
When asked if they did not get any rations or other assistance from the Government, Yepthomi said only 30 bags of rice were given for distribution whereas there are over 10,000 autorickshaw drivers in Dimapur. He said it would take them around four days to reach Bihar.
Wishing the autorickshaw drivers a safe journey, Yepthomi said he gave each of them Rs 500 from his pocket to buy at least one bottle of water and some snacks during their homeward journey.
�We will continue to support our Bihari auto drivers� families and their long journey in our prayers. May you all have a safe journey, brothers,� the union posted on its Facebook page. The union leaders requested the autorickshaw drivers, who have been here for the 10 to 15 years, to return to Nagaland when the COVID-19 situation returns to normal.
The union has also requested people of other States to support them with tea and snacks during their journey. It also urged any autorickshaw driver or family members living in and around Dimapur to contact the union president directly if they face any �untold hardships�.
The union urged those willing to help the autorickshaw drivers� families to contact its office. All details of donations will be posted on the union�s Facebook page, it said.
The union said its office-bearers would identify every affected family and distribute the donations to them.