Wed, 25 Nov 2020

By Joymala BagchiNew Delhi [India], April 3 (ANI): With the COVID-19 outbreak affecting millions of lives across India, especially the marginalised, many are trying various ways to make their ends meet while complying with the government's lockdown guidelines.

Several people, earlier attached with businesses such as clothing and crockery, as well as hawkers in various pockets of Delhi, have shifted from their ongoing trade to vegetable and fruit vendoring after the country went into a 21-day lockdown following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement on March 24.

Upendra Sahni, a 45-year-old street hawker from Amrit Vihar, who used to sell garments earlier, told ANI, "I could not sell a single garment since the last 15 days. I had no money to feed my family. I had to do something in order to earn money and at this situation only vegetables or fruit vendors can earn money. I shifted my business from garments to vegetable vendoring for livelihood. Now, since the last two days, I am going out in different alleys selling vegetables. Atleast, my family is not hungry now."Arun Sahni, 38, from the same locality also shifted to vegetable vendoring due to poverty and hunger. He said, "I have four children whom I have to feed no matter what. Since last few weeks, my clothing business was not going well. I had no money to even pay the rent. What else I could have done?"Sahni added, "I am moving to different areas and in nearby localities selling vegetables. I also keep the leftover for my family. After I shifted to vegetable vendoring, I know I can at least feed my children and that is more than a relief for me amidst the present situation."Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced that Rs 5,000 each will be transferred into the accounts of auto, taxi, e-rickshaw, RTV and Gramin Sewa drivers and all those plying public service vehicles. "This might take between a week and 10 days to implement," he said.

Few days back, he also stated that the Delhi government is working towards providing ration to those people, who do not have ration cards.

Besides Upendra and Arun, there are many people here who have shifted their businesses to vegetable vendoring due to the lockdown.

They collect their vegetable or fruits from the nearby Azadpur Sabzi Mandi and also from nearby farms, which they later sell in nearby localities, as they fear of violating the "stay home" order.

Another street vendor near Kotla, Raju Kumar, 48, earlier used to sell local beauty items. Now, he has also shifted to fruit vendoring.

Raju said, "Before lockdown, I had a cart full of local beauty items but since the last 15 days, I could not sell even a packet of safety pin. I have no other alternatives, but to transfer my existing cart into a fruit cart. Moreover, I have to pay a rent of Rs 7,000. This is the best way to earn money."However, hawkers who did not have vans are finding it even more difficult to look for other options amidst lockdown. Long queues in ration shops also poses a challenge for the needy.

Besides this, movement of migrant workers in big scale is also being witnessed during the lockdown.

In this regard, Preeti Sudan, Secretary at Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has written to Chief Secretaries of all states and Union territories asking them to assure redressal of migrant labourers grievances as directed by the Supreme Court.

The letter, written by Sudan, states that the Supreme Court has directed that "migrant workers in relief camps or shelter homes should be provided adequate medical facilities besides proper arrangement for food, clean drinking water, and sanitation."Besides this, the Delhi government has also turned various schools into night shelters.

Kejriwal today said that there are 208 active coronavirus cases in the national capital.

The total number of coronavirus cases in India has climbed to 2,069 on Thursday, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. (ANI)

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