Telangana: More auto drivers die of suicide since launch of Mahalaxmi scheme

Hyderabad: After the launch of the ‘Mahalakshmi‘ free bus ride scheme for women in Telangana, as many as thirteen autorickshaw drivers have died by suicide or cardiac arrest between December 24, 2023, and January 26, according to a report by NewsTap.

Highlighting the struggle of autorickshaw drivers, the report states that they “face acute financial stress due to the pressure of clearing loans obtained for the purchase of the vehicles.” Interestingly, there is a common reason being suggested for their financial stress, which is the recently launched Mahalakshmi scheme.

Apparently, both in rural and urban areas, women commuted by shared autorickshaw rides. However, the scheme adversely impacted the earnings of autorickshaw drivers.

Two suicides in two days

Over the last two days, two autorickshaw drivers in Nalgonda district ended their lives. One of the deceased, identified as Eakula Upender, 24, hailing from Adavidevulapaly village, consumed pesticide and died.

The report suggested that the Congress’s scheme, which was intended to empower women by providing free bus rides, has severely impacted Upender’s livelihoods.

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The reason for his death was attributed to the severe financial stress, as he was unable to clear the debt he had taken out to purchase the three-wheeler. After the finance company began mounting pressure on him, he decided to end his life.

Newstap quoted his grieving mother saying, “Upender had struggled to sustain his livelihood since the implementation of the scheme, which provided free bus rides for women.” She alleged that her son’s life was severely impacted by the scheme, ultimately resulting in his death.

Another victim Badla Mallesh of Ibrahimpatnam in Ranga Reddy district ended his life by jumping into Nagarjunasagar reservoir. His family also stated that he was struggling with the financial stress.

A local police officer said that Mallesh came to Nagarjunasagar three days ago, went to the dam spillway, and jumped into the river downstream.

Other deceased auto drivers:

  • Pendyala Saraiah, 50, died on December 14, 2023, at Govardhanagiri village of Akkannapet mandal in Siddipet district, due to cardiac arrest.
  • P Sathish Goud, 35, died on January 5, 2024, in BS Makta, Somajiguda, Hyderabad by hanging himself.
  • Narsimha Goud died on January 6, at Kuchanapalli village of Haveli Ghanpur mandal of Medak district due to cardiac arrest.
  • Lakshmi, 60, mother of Narsimha Goud, also died of cardiac arrest upon learning about her son’s death.
  • Vemula Satya Narayana, 51, died on January 14 at Meedikonda village of Station Ghanpur in Janagaon, due to cardiac arrest.
  • M Anil Kumar, 26, died on January 16 at Bhayyalal Nagar of Lalitha Bagh in Chandrayangutta, Hyderabad, after he hanged himself.
  • Sk Hameed, 29, died on January 18 at Mint Compund, Saifabad, Hyderabad. The reason of his death was not immediately known.
  • Akbar, 36, died on January 18 at 24 Area, Yellandu, Bhadradri-Kothagudem district after hanging himself to death.
  • Sk Gulam, 44, died on January 20 at Gaggalapalli of Nagarkurnool after hanging himself.
  • Mudavath Rahul, 26, a resident of Kodangal, died in Rajendranagar, Ranga Reddy district by hanging himself.
  • Md. Sameer Pasha, 22, died on Jan 22 at Madikonda in Hanamkonda district after consuming pesticide.