Traditional tonga-savaris ride into history in Lahore

September 17th, 2008 - 3:55 pm ICT by ANI  

Lahore , Sept 17 (ANI): Thousand of families who used to earn their bread by plying tongas in Lahore are on the brink of starvation, as, after the ban imposed by the Pakistan government, only a few ply on the a selected roads.

Till just a few years ago, before the ban was imposed, there were nearly 4000 tongas in the city ferrying school kids and office goers, that too absolutely pollution-free.

Thousands of people, who were associated with this business, became jobless as a result and the recent spell of inflation has added to their miseries.

According to the kochwans (those who run tongas ), the government should have arranged an alternative means of livelihood for tonga-drivers and others who had been associated with this business for decades.

The cost of motorcycle-rickshaw, the most common mode of intra-city transport presently, is still out of the reach of the poor kochwan. While many of the kochwans have dismantled their tongas , others have converted them into donkey-carts, reported the Daily Times.

The paper quoted Munshi Sharif, a kochwan at a tonga stand outside Delhi Gate, as saying that after the ban around a decade ago, around 12,000 kochwans had been rendered jobless.

The tonga was a pollution-free transport, while motorcycle rickshaws emitted poisonous smoke due to which most of the people of the northern Lahore were suffering from respiratory affections, he said and added that presently tongas were plying only on a selected roads, like from Masti Gate Khokhar Road and from Salamatpura to Rashidpura. (ANI)

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