SADBAD (HATHRAS): Among the harvested wheat fields and the yet-to-be harvested one off sugarcane field on the Agra-Hathras road, stand at least 200 concrete structures. They do hinder the scenic beauty but are vital to this region as these cold storages help stock the most produced crop of the region – the potato.
Moreover, these storages provide jobs for at least 10,000 people from the nearby villages. Each storage is equipped to handle 2.5 lakh bags of potatoes.
The workforce forms a mere 0.5 per cent of the constituency’s electorate but their issues are of prime importance to the leaders. “They are the backbone of the region after the farmers. If the storage workers go on strike, all the potato produce will go waste,” a BJP worker says. Congress is a step ahead. “These cold storage workers are as important as the farmer. The local economy runs on potatoes hence their preservation is of utmost importance,” a party worker said.
However, the cold storage workers themselves are divided on who will be beneficial to them. While some say Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s schemes have benefitted them, a few believe BJP has become an arrogant party. There is a group of workers which says that their leader should be one among them and only then would their problems be solved.
Take the case of particular storage, right on the border of Agra and Sadbad. On the stairs leading to the storage area is a group of workers hotly debating the polls. “Bhaiyya, ye Modi nahi hota toh jaane humara kya hota (Had Modi not been there, God knows what would have happened to us),” says 26-year-old Nitish Kumar smoking a beedi. “Dekho Modi ne kuch nahi kiya hai. Bas bhashan dene aate hai usko. (Modi has not done anything for anyone, he knows only how to lecture people),” comes the retort from 45-year-old Prempal Singh.