Unemployment forces low income groups to switch to selling essential items – noida
With many losing jobs amid the ongoing lockdown, those in lower income groups are switching professions and taking up delivery of essential items.
Even though state governments have given certain relaxations in lockdown norms since May 3 so that industries and construction activities can resume work, lower income groups continue to struggle to find work.
“I used to work as a rickshaw puller while my wife worked at a construction site. When the lockdown started, someone told us that this coronavirus crisis will not end soon. So with the last of our money we bought vegetables and fruits from the Sector 88 market. I used my rickshaw to ferry the goods and we sold the produce on the roadside in Sector 75,” Manoj, who hails from Jharkhand, said.
The family feels that their decision to switch to essential service delivery was a good one. “Many of our neighbours used to work at construction sites and are struggling to survive. Their contractors have also not helped them out. We at least have enough to feed ourselves and our three children,” Manoj said.
District officials say small roadside businesses, rickshaw pullers and other daily wage earners are the worst affected by the economic crisis brought about by the lockdown.
“Earlier my three children used to help out at our tea stall in Sector 18. But our shop has been closed for almost two months now. We began to run out of money and had to borrow ration from people we knew in Sector 27. But last week, one of my sons got a job at a department store in Atta. He is earning ₹200 per day and that is helpful to us. We don’t think that we will be able to go back to running our shop so my husband has also started looking for work,” Sarita, who lives with her family in Atta area, said.
The Noida authority had also roped in vendors to supply vegetables, fruits and groceries to containment zones. With reduced pedestrian movement, some of the existing vendors have also had to change their routine.
“Till last month, we used to have our fruit and vegetables stall near where we live in Sorkha village. But now, in order to sell more products, we walk an additional one or two kilometres to either Sector 74 or 76 where there are high-rises and thus more customers. Whatever is left, we sell that in Sorkha,” another vegetable vendor, who did not wish to be named, said.
Even sectors and high-rises had roped in more vendors in March itself so that residents don’t venture out.
“When the lockdown started, there was hardly any vegetable vendor coming to our area. Now we have more than 10-15 fruit and vegetable sellers coming in daily. Most of them are from the nearby Hoshiyarpur village. There were earlier employed as mechanics, etc. There was a man who owned a small tent business. He has now set up two tables, covered it with a tent and started selling fruits,” Sanjeev Kumar, president, Sector 51 residents welfare association, said.
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