VIJAYAWADA: AT a time when the migrant workers are leaving the city for their native places by foot or through various modes of transport due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a 43-year-old bamboo chair maker at Poranki stayed back so as not to put the lives of his family members at risk. Almost 15 years ago, Shivam Dutt, a native of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, arrived in the city in search of livelihood. He meets his wife and four children twice a year during the festivals.
Speaking to TNIE, he said, “I am the sole breadwinner for my family. The twomonth lockdown wreaked havoc on my business. I survived all these days, thanks to the support extended by land owner and a function hall owner who stay adjacent to my stall at Poranki on Bandar Road stretch.” Post-lockdown, very less number of people are visiting his roadside stall, that too without making any purchases.
“It’s been almost three-and-a-half months since I visited my hometown. I brought along my eldest son, who completed his Class XII exams, along with me to the city. Due to the coronavirusinduced lockdown, he got stuck here and now helping me in manufacturing bamboo chairs,” Dutt said, seeking financial support from the government.
“Before lockdown, my father used to earn `30,000 per month but in the month of June, he hardly earned `10,000 by selling his bamboo chairs, Plaster of Paris idols and crockery items,” Siva, his eldest son, said. Reminiscing the initial days of lockdown, he said that they received multiple calls from their family members asking about their whereabouts.
“My family members are worried about us. We cannot visit our home town as we have procured jute and bamboo sticks and crockery items worth `1.5 lakh in March, hoping for a good business. But the Covid-19 lockdown has shattered all our hopes and we are struggling to make our ends meet. I want to support my father for a few more months not only to help his business, but also to support him morally,” Siva said.