Autos edge out jatka bandi

Rajamahendravaram:  The quaint jatka bandi (horse-drawn cart), once a common feature in all rural and semi-urban areas, is fast disappearing, having lost its traditional value in society as a safe transport option. The patronage of jatka bandi has come down drastically over the last decade. Today only a few of them can be seen even in rural areas, with practically no takers.

The proliferation of autos -- common man’s first choice of local transport -- has changed the scenario in society.  That apart, the easy availability of cabs and various other modes of transport has resulted in the decline of jatka bandis, with the owners of the carts migrating to cities and towns for their bread and butter.

For many, travelling by jatka bandi is a joyride, while for others it is also a status symbol. A jatka bandi owner, M Ramayya, says that he has been running his horse-drawn cart for years, though it has become very difficult for him to maintain it now because of changed circumstances. People are no longer  showing interest in boarding jatka bandis.

Yet, since it is too late to switch to another profession, many of the owners of carts are maintaining it as it is the only source of their income.  Some old customers do engage them, but usually to carry goods and other material. Their daily earnings are about Rs 200 to Rs 300 only, based on demand.