Bidding tongas a fond final farewell
Unable to keep track with modern modes of transportation, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has finally decided to phase them out. This move in effect would mean the city would lose a slice of its heritage, reports HT Correspondent.delhi Updated: Nov 19, 2009 23:35 IST
Two months from now, tongas will be history.
Unable to keep track with modern modes of transportation, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has finally decided to phase them out. This move in effect would mean the city would lose a slice of its heritage.
“There is no space or demand for these slow-moving, animal-driven vehicles in the city in today’s age and time,” said Vijendra Gupta, a BJP councillor, who had initiated the plan of phasing out tongas from the city.
In addition, the animals are subjected to cruelty by their owners. They are made to work at a stretch for long hours “in extreme conditions without proper food”, Gupta alleged.
There are 232 licensed tonga owners in the city, apart from 26 who have been plying without permission from the civic agency.
These tongas ply in areas such as Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazaar, Trans-Yamuna areas, near Old Delhi Railway stations, Seetaram bazaar, near Minto Road and Delhi Gate among others.
“We understand the problems caused by tongas but rather than banning them completely some stretches should be dedicated by offering joy rides like the Victorias in Mumbai to tourists visiting the city,” said Mohammed Salim, a tonga owner.
The tonga owners feel that since this is the only trade that they are skilled at, it would be difficult for them to adapt to a new profession. Most of the owners are past their prime.
The civic body has earmarked Rs 35 lakh for the rehabilitation scheme of the tonga owners.
“We will provide tehbazaris (mobile temporary vendors) to the licensed tonga owners, having one licence in their names. Those without valid licenses will be given financial assistance (one fourth of the cost of the vehicle) for purchase of CNG goods carriage auto-rickshaws,” said Janak Digal, additional commissioner, veterinary and education department, MCD.
According to the veterinary department of the MCD, this move would also help prevent exposing people to many infectious diseases caused due to the faecal matter of these animals.