Injured cabbie wants to be back at wheels to support his family

  • | Friday | 8th December, 2023

Nagpur: At 5.30am every day, cabbie Pankaj Dhawle gets his first booking from Nagpur railway station. His home is barely 500m away in a lane at Parsee Colony. To avoid the auto mafia, he routinely spends several minutes convincing passengers to take a 400m trek off the station premises to board. His daily schedule, however, has come to a grinding halt after the brutal attack, three days ago.Dhawles face is still swollen with a deep gash below his right eye and injuries on the left elbow are raw.He received a couple of stitches and is taking painkillersSpeaking to TOI at his 10x12 feet tenement, the 31-year-old cabbie said he would soon resume driving as his savings are drying up. The lone breadwinner of a family of four, Dhawle earns a meagre ₹800 per day after driving 10 hours in two shifts.I began driving in 2020 after quitting my job as a chef. My mother keeps asking me to avoid station bookings after my first face-off with auto drivers last year. Now, my wife Ruchita wants me to skip station bookings, he said.On December 4, a passenger was waiting near the station exit. It was my second booking from the station. The early morning ride went smoothly from the same spot. Since he was the lone passenger, I entered the premises, braked and took him in. While I was entering the OTP, the auto union boss Ansari began banging my car bonnet. He collared me out and began thrashing me. The passenger too cancelled the booking and left, he said, adding Ansari was accompanied by a mob.Dhawle needs money for his 7-year-old daughters education and wife Ruchita is preparing for a competitive exam in January. The incident has traumatised me and I am unable to focus on my mock tests, she said. The couple hasnt disclosed the incident to their daughter. With no support from the cab aggregator, Pankaj has been banking on his savings to run daily expenses. The driving business is high on risk, low on returns. I am planning to start another business once my wife clears her exam. Till then, I have to keep driving from 5.30am, he said.We also published the following articles recentlyTOI undercover journo calls from station, cabbie fears running into auto mafiaThe law enforcement agency in Nagpur is reluctant to crack down on the auto mafia, who recently launched a violent attack on a cabbie. As a result, the auto drivers at Nagpur railway station are becoming increasingly aggressive. An undercover journalist from TOI tried to book a cab from the railway station, but the cabbie refused to pick up from the premises due to fear of a life-threatening attack from the autowallahs. The auto drivers at the station have been chasing, harassing, and abusing passengers who refuse to board their vehicles. The auto mafias union is threatening to disrupt the public transport system and create a law and order crisis. Even app-based auto drivers are not allowed to pick up passengers from the railway station. The authorities are dilly-dallying about executing an agreement with a cab aggregator, despite the payment of 15 lakh. The cabbies fear being mobbed and assaulted by the autowallahs. The police commissioner promises to tackle criminal activities, including attacks on cabbies in the railway station vicinity.Exhausted drivers leave trains at station in UP, passengers left in lurchOver 2,500 passengers of two express trains were left stranded at Burhwal junction in Uttar Pradesh due to delayed train departure. The passengers, without water, food, and power supply, staged a protest and blocked the rail track. The staff of one train cited duty hours over, while the other trains loco pilot claimed uneasiness. Railway authorities dispatched staff to attend to the trains, and both eventually departed for their destinations.Collegian booked for abetting his pals suicideA male college friend has been booked for abetting the suicide of an 18-year-old woman who allegedly hanged herself at her residence in Thane. The womans mother filed a complaint accusing the classmate of threatening and harassing her daughter, which led to her suicide. The accused and the victim were friends and used to talk on the phone. When the woman started avoiding him, he allegedly forced her to speak and even called her brother to chat with her. No suicide note was found at the scene.

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