TIRUCHY: With public transportation suspended in the fourth phase of the lockdown, reaching the city for work remains a difficult task for daily wage labourers.
Though they somehow manage to reach the city by hitchhiking or paying small charges, finding job and getting paid accordingly seems highly uncertain. It has become an usual ordeal for men and women gathered under Aristo Bridge, Tennur bridge and Vayalur road to wait under the hot sun till mid noon for contractors to hire them and then return home - either empty-handed or with the day's wage.
"Since there is no bus service, I take lifts from the vehicles passing through the highway. Though I manage to reach the city, there is no surety that I will get a job. However, many people like us do not have any other options," said Velankanni, a worker from Pappankurichi.
Another worker Vijayalakshmi waiting under Aristo Bridge said that unlike previous phases of lockdown, some of them are now getting job. "I came from Manapparai in a truck. I got work at a construction site yesterday. I'm not sure whether I'll get work today. Like many others, I decided to wait till noon. If the contractors do not come, I will return home," she said.
Meanwhile, some of the workers alleged that they are not getting sufficient wages. "We used to get about Rs 350 to Rs 400 per day before the lockdown. But now since construction works are taking place only in few places, contractors bargain the wages with us. Some offer Rs 270 or Rs 300 for a day. If we are not willing, they would move on to other place. We are left with no option but to work for low wage. We hope the government would come up with more relaxation after this lockdown. Otherwise, people like us would struggle to make both ends meet," said Pazhaniappan, a worker waiting for contractors at the Vayalur road.