Local business and daily wage workers feel heat of agitation

The sites have been fortified with barricades, iron nails and concrete creating blockades on roads to nearby localities.

Published: 05th February 2021 08:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th February 2021 09:30 AM   |  A+A-

Barricading of roads by the police is giving a tough time to motorists. A scene from Tikri border | Shekhar Yadav

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  At Lekh Ram Park Colony, a little away from the Tikri border protest site, business is not as usual for small shopkeepers. Suspension of Internet and barricading and closure of roads have left them struggling, said shopkeepers at the colony.  The government has suspended Internet since January 26 at the protest epicentres and areas around them.  The sites have been fortified with barricades, iron nails and concrete creating blockades on roads to nearby localities.

“On an average, 15-20 customers used to come for mobile data recharge at my store. Since the Republic Day, I haven’t sold any Internet packs. Even though it has been only a few days, I have already incurred significant losses,” said Vinod who has been running a mobile phone store in the colony for almost 10 years.

The situation was no different for grocery shop owners. “Many people have left the colony. Also, people from across the road cannot access these shops anymore. I pay a monthly rent of Rs 7,000 for this shop. But I am unable to recover the rent from my meagre sales. I have been running the shop for five years now, but have never faced such difficulty,” said Balaji, who hails from Darbhanga in Bihar.

Bringing in supplies has become difficult with roads closed, pointed out Aman who works at another general store in Lekh Ram Park Colony.  With vehicles being diverted and buses being rerouted, several people were unable to go for daily wage works, rued residents of the colony.  “Earlier, people going to work would pick up sweets, gutka among others. Now, I am struggling to make ends meet with barely any sales,” said Neelam who runs a kirana store out of her home.

While Raj Kumar who sells different types of snacks said his sales have “marginally” dipped, the owner of a relatively bigger Mahaganga Sweets said his sales were “significantly affected”. “This is a new branch, but sales were more affected at our Heera Market branch,” said owner Rohan. For Chotelal Sharma from Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, opening a small-scale salon in the colony was a “bad decision”. “I set this up around three months back. In the first month, I would earn around Rs 500 a day. Today, I made just Rs 70 since morning. I don’t know what is the way ahead,” Chotelal said.   


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