Hit by lockdown, city driving schools on the brink of closure

Hyderabad: In the pre-COVID era, scores of people used to pass and clear the state’s driving license test per day, resulting in motor driving schools making quick bucks everyday. However, the situation has now become quite stark, even a few months after the lockdown was relaxed, with many driving schools even downing shutters temporarily over fears of getting infected by the novel virus.

A quick look around the city showed that many motor driving schools have in fact shut shop till the end of the year at least. It has hit employees and owners alike. Mohammed Junaid 31, a driving instructor at a driving school in King Koti is one such person whose life has changed completely ever since the nationwide lockdown was imposed to curb the virus from spreading.

”People are still reluctant to start the driving course due to the fear of contracting COVID-19, in spite of trying to convincing them that we sanitize the car after every customer finishes their class,” said Mohammed Junaid. 

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Other driving school owners and instructors said that the relaxations of lockdown restrictions have done little to ease their burden. After being badly hit by the sluggish economic activity, which left them with no clients, many say that they are on the verge of surrendering their vehicles to financiers after the moratorium (to pay monthly installments) ends on August 31.

Functionaries of Telangana Auto and Motor Vehicle Union said that there are many schools with over eight or ten vehicles bought through loans. “Though a moratorium has been announced, the debtors have to pay the entire interest and pending installations in a month or two,” said M Dayanand general secretary of Telangana Auto and Motor Vehicle Union. 

Owners and instructors of driving schools says they are expecting government intervention,” We are going to submit a representation to the Telangana government requesting for financial aid for driving schools or at least for a waiver on insurance premium and road tax until year-end. We are not able to bear the premium and tax that is the reason we have shut down our driving schools,” stated N. Shiva Kumar, a driving school owner at Narayanguda.

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