Migrant workers, street vendors bemoan loss of business during ‘lockdown’ in Delhi

Migrant workers, who constitute a large section of workers in Delhi, earn their bread and butter by working on daily wages.

Published: 07th September 2023 09:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th September 2023 09:21 AM   |  A+A-

Cement, Construction, Migrant workers

Image used for representational purposes only. (File Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:   As the national capital gears up for the final touch for the G20 Summit, daily wage earners fear that a lockdown-like situation may worsen their earnings in the upcoming days. The summit will take place in Delhi from September 8 to 10.

Migrant workers, who constitute a large section of workers in Delhi, earn their bread and butter by working on daily wages. However, with restrictions in the city, the casual workers and street vendors will be severely affected.

“We are already not getting work every day and now this lockdown-like situation will add misery to our problem”, says Param Singhania, 27, who works as a painter in the Okhla area. Param earns `600-700 per day and supports his family of 12 people. He gets only 14-15 days of work in a month and has to travel every day from Sri Niwaspuri to Okhla for work which costs Rs 20 per trip.

The situation is more or less the same for Ram Singh (33) and Monu Singh (28), who are engaged in masonry and plumbing work respectively in the Anand Vihar area. Ram Singh said that he would prefer to be at home than getting beaten by the police, as it happened during the first lockdown. His friend Monu Singh said that they have to pay `5,000 per month as room rent and situations like this may further worsen their income.

Street vendors would also be affected by this partial lockdown. Ajay Singh, who sells fast food items near Nehru Place, says “I didn’t send money to my home last month due to less income as the customer footfall has decreased and now this situation will make our condition bad. How will I run my house?”

Dalveer Singh, director of Mehanat Kash Association, who works for the rights of gig workers, said that the government should give proper compensation to the affected daily wage workers as they are one of the most neglected and worst hit sections of society.

 The reporter of this newspaper tried contacting officers at the labour department, however, there was no response from them.

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