The shutdown on Monday may have put people to hardship, but the owners of bullock carts and tongas weren’t complaining.
For their daily earnings rose 10 times as politicians scrambled to ride the non-motorised carriages in protest against rising fuel prices.
If the owner of a tonga or bullock cart earned Rs 500 on a normal day, he made at least Rs 5,000 just by renting the carriage for a few hours during the bandh.
“I got at least 20 phone calls from various parties yesterday. All my four bullock carts were quickly booked but the demand kept growing. I asked my brother to somehow get five more carts from our village near Magadi. But he could bring only three by this morning. Political parties were ready to pay higher rentals,” said Muniyappa, who usually deploys his bullock cart to transport cement and groceries in KR Market.
‘Could go back in time’
Vatal Nagaraj, the chief of Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha, who often rides bullock carts during protests, said that if the Union government kept rising fuel prices, it would “take us back to an uncivilised era, where bullock carts and tongas were the only means of transport”.