Munna Yadav runs a newspaper stall in Dombivali (East) of Thane district in Maharashtra. As the state is under a lockdown, Munna has no work. The union of newspaper vendors has decided not to go out for work considering the risks the distributors will be exposed to. On the other hand, the newspaper groups have also decided to not print for a while. A meeting is expected to be held today [March 23] to decide the future course of action.
"There are three boys working with me. But as there are no papers, we don't have anything to do. We can survive for a month, but what about those boys? Where will they go?" asked Munna. He emphasised the need for provision of money for such people for their daily needs.
Kamlesh Singh is a vegetable vendor in Thane’s (West) Bramhand area. He owns a cart and would go with it to the gates of various housing societies. But now, Kamlesh has no work. "I haven't gone to the market to buy vegetables. What is the use of it if I am not allowed to move around in the area. People are also not allowed to gather. I don't know how much time this will take [to go away] but this corona will hurt the poor people the most," said Kamlesh.
There are thousands of street vendors like Kamlesh and Munna. Their source of livelihood has been shut altogether with lockdown in place and they have not received any help from the government so far.
Abdul Razaq runs a flour mill in Bhandup (West). When he was opening his shop earlier, he was advised to keep it shut as the police would anyway force him to eventually. Somebody "Khana denge kya wo? Aise baithe baithe ghar par muze chawal kaun la ke dega? (Will they give me food as well? How can I earn my daily bread sitting at home?)" questioned Razaq.
As the number of COVID-19 patients is rising rapidly in Maharashtra (74 on Sunday, 89 on Monday), Section 144 has been imposed in the state and follows a complete lockdown--barring essential services. In this situation, many are clueless about where their next payment will come from and when.
Also read: Covid-19: Prevention Really Is Better Than Cure