MANGALORE: If Facebook is a platform for GenNext to express their feelings online, huge display boards serve a similar purpose for autorickshaw drivers at Lady Hill and Ballalbagh here. This ‘manual Facebook’ doubles as information centres for auto drivers. Weddings, cricket matches, drivers’ association meetings and photos of major events related to drivers and their association ‘get uploaded’ on these boards kept at prominent autorickshaw stands in the city.
Drivers and owners at these stands keep updating information by ‘posting’ notices, invitations, photos and important information related to traffic rules on the notice boards which are protected with glass cases. Drivers of Lady Hill, besides making their stand a centre of information, provided a shelter for drivers to take rest. There is facility for drinking water supply.
Karunakar Shriyan, president of Lady Hill Autorickshaw Drivers and Owners Association, which has about 50 members, told STOI that their stand serves as a welfare centre for drivers. “We have several schemes that include providing financial aid for drivers to buy new tyres and spare parts. They need to repay in easy installments without interest. We started a medical scheme, wherein drivers are given financial help when they fall sick,” he said, adding that chewing gutkha is strictly banned at the auto stand.
Ballalbagh Autorickshaw Drivers and Owners Association secretary Lokesh Shetty said that the notice board helps drivers in the area in many ways. “Our association has nearly 50 members and we invite them for annual and half yearly meetings through notice boards. Meeting notices too are being pasted on the board,” he said.
The association is also engaged in various other activities including cricket. Lokesh said that the drivers’ team participates in cricket tournaments in and around Mangalore city. “We conduct cricket tournament and many other activities. We also take part in religious festivals like Gurji Deepotsava and Dasara festival. Information related to these activities is updated periodically through the notice board,” he added.