Siliguri’s First Female Toto Driver Ferries COVID Patients For Free

by Suchismita Pal
Siliguri’s First Female Toto Driver Ferries COVID Patients For Free

Not all heroes wear royal capes. Some wear PPE suits. And here, we’re talking about a real-life heroine, the first woman toto ( e-rickshaw) driver of Siliguri, who is now ferrying COVID-19 patients for free. On realizing the plight of the infected patients, 48-year old Munmun Sarkar came to the decision of offering free rides to them. She is also delivering medicines, groceries and other essentials to the patients in home quarantine. Reportedly, Munmun has already ferried over 100 patients till date. She wears a PPE suit and keeps a thermal testing gun in her vehicle. Also, foreigners stranded in Goa were cleaning beaches and tending crops amid the pandemic.

Siliguri’s First Female Toto Driver Provides Free Rides To COVID Patients

Munmun Sarkar has been giving rides ‘free of cost’ to COVID-19 patients. A couple of months ago, a Hyderabad man had also created a car to spread awareness about COVID-19. As per The Telegraph reports, Munmun said, “Most drivers refuse to carry COVID patients out of fear of catching the infection. Even ambulances charge huge amounts. Those who have recovered from COVID-19 and have tested negative also find it difficult to arrange transport to go home.”

Siliguri's First Female Toto Driver
Picture Credits: SheThePeople.TV

She added, “I realised many were not in a position to pay at a time like this amid all their expense and stress. That is why I decided not to charge fares from any passenger who is infected or has just been cured.” She spends ₹3000 a day on sanitising her vehicle. She sanitises her toto twice a day. Also, every passenger gets sanitised before boarding her vehicle.

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Overcoming Multiple Challenges

According to Munmun, after she started providing free rides to the COVID-19 patients, the number of fit passengers availing her services dropped. Previously, she used to earn around ₹8000 per month. Now her monthly earning has dropped to about ₹6,000 per month, as she only charges from healthy travellers. Her free-ride decision made her vulnerable and suffer financially, but she has been brave enough to face the challenges and put humanity at first. 56-year old Ananda, her husband, is in the construction business and earns nearly ₹15,000 per month. He has been supportive of Munmun’s decision and they stay in different rooms after she started transporting the virus-affected patients. Munmun quickly responds to calls from the quarantined COVID patients.

Siliguri's First Female Toto Driver
Picture Credits: Siliguri Times

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Kudos to this frontline warrior on wheels! Munmun works with an NGO in Siliguri, Unique Foundation. She plans to drive an ambulance soon. Meanwhile, did you know about this woman-only cab service in Bangalore?