Auto drivers conned using 'ESIC schemes'

The pamphlet with the logo of ESIC used to lure gullible autorickshaw drivers and garage owners.

Dozens of autorickshaw drivers from villages near Udupi and Karkala have paid Rs 1,000 to imposters after being lured by promises of multiple benefits under ESI (employees state insurance) scheme.

“Rickshaw drivers and garage owners were not only promised medical facilities but also provident fund (PF) benefits under ESI scheme by the imposters,” informs Federation of Udupi District Auto Rickshaw Drivers’ and Owners Associations working president Suresh Amin.

Bogus NGOs

Three years ago, a bogus NGO, called the Common People Welfare Association earned the goodwill of autorickshaw drivers plying in villages by getting Udupi Regional Transport Office (RTO) to issue badges to rural autorickshaw drivers. These badges enabled autorickshaw drivers to operate their vehicles in municipal limits.

“Three months ago, the imposters under different names like Mass India and Siddi Vinayaka Auto Travels and Agencies distributed pamphlets with ESIC logo. Those keen on availing the benefits listed in the pamphlet were asked to pay Rs 950 including the first ESI instalment of Rs 650,” Amin said.

‘No such scheme’

However, enquiries with ESIC’s branch in Udupi revealed that there was no such scheme for unorganised workers including autorickshaw drivers and garage owners.

“In order to prevent more autorickshaw drivers from getting cheated, we filed a complaint against the NGO, Mass India President G A Koteyar with ESIC,” Amin recalled. The complaint by the federation also demanded that action against Koteyar for misusing ESIC logo on pamphlets.

‘Only regd members’

ESIC Director-in-charge S Sivaramakrishnan said besides the federation, they had received other complaints about `unscrupulous elements’ taking money for providing benefits under the ESI scheme.

ESI Corporation does not have any scheme for common people. Benefits under the ESI scheme are accessible only to the employees registered through their employers in the ESIC website, as under the ESI Act, 1948, the director clarified. 

“ESIC does not collect any money from stakeholders and does not depute officials to canvass for the ESI scheme,” S Sivaramakrishnan clarified.

He urged people to be cautious of such imposters demanding money for providing benefits under the ESI scheme.

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Auto drivers conned using 'ESIC schemes'

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