Autorickshaw drivers in Kudla move towards cashless transactions

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Autorickshaw driver Asok N. Shetty displaying his Paytm code at the launch of the initiative in Mangaluru on Tuesday.

Cooperative society of autorickshaw drivers spearheads technology-driven facilities

Not to be left behind in the rush towards a cashless economy, autorickshaw drivers in Mangaluru on Tuesday began to embrace the change by installing mobile wallet Paytm in their vehicles.

Kudla Souharda Sahakari, a cooperative of autorickshaw drivers, has pioneered this initiative with seven vehicles in the beginning. There are plans to bring at least 200 vehicles into the Paytm fold shortly, according to Sahakari president M. Prakash.

The shift towards Paytm was not a planned one, admitted the Sahakari’s general secretary Ashok Konchady in his introductory address at a public dialogue on installation of GPS and advertisement flexes on autorickshaws here.

“At the discussion, a few concerned citizens asked us why drivers cannot move towards cashless payments to benefit the larger population,” Mr. Konchady said. The Sahakari immediately got in touch with ‘I Search’ at Kudroli which readily provided e-wallets to interested drivers. Any interested driver may approach I Search and get the wallet installed, he said.

Mr. Konchady said the application would go a long way in serving people as it would be convenient for both the driver and the passengers.

Ashok N. Nayak, one among the first set of seven drivers who got Paytm installed, told The Hindu that the app would primarily eliminate the problem of small change. The earnings go directly into one’s account thereby reducing cash handling risks, he said.

Other plans

Meanwhile, the Sahakari is taking steady steps towards introducing GPS trackers in autorickshaws of members and connecting them through a call-centre, for which the Transport Department is yet to accord permission. Similar is the case with installation of advertisement flexes on vehicles, he said, and added the Sahakari is confident of sorting out the issue. The flexes would bring at least Rs.1,500 a month income to drivers.

Opposition

Regretting that there were a few voicing dissent against the installation of GPS, Mr. Konchady made it clear that every law-abiding driver would welcome the move. Only those who have fraudulent or criminal intentions would oppose it, he said.

Mr. Konchady said the Sahakari’s initiatives have received support from all sections of society, including political parties, NGOs, student associations and many more.

Earlier, Mangaluru Senior Citizens Association General Secretary K. Ramesh Rao flagged off the Paytm autorickshaws.

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