Struggling but no option, say daily wage earners
Farmers market in Kohima during International Street Vendors Day 2019. (Morung/NEN File Photo: For representational purposes only)
Govt mulling steps, informs CS
Atono Tsükrü Kense
Kohima | March 25
The Nagaland government’s lockdown enforced from March 22 midnight and the subsequent countrywide lockdown of the central government which came into effect from March 24 midnight, has placed daily wage earners and other labourers at the receiving end.
With citizens being compelled to remain indoors as precautionary and preventive measures towards the fight against the COVID -19 pandemic, hundreds of labourers, women street vendors and daily wage construction workers both in the organised and unorganised sectors across the state, are facing uncertainty and insecurity. The lockdown has come as a big blow for their survival.
The state government is also yet to announce any package or provisions for those daily wage earners who struggle to make ends meet. When enquired on what steps have the state government being mulling for the daily wage earners, Chief Secretary Temjen Toy said the government is actively exploring ways to address the problem. “We are examining actively for the welfare the daily wage earners. These are extraordinary times, and there are so many priorities so one by one we are trying to address it” said Toy.
Sole breadwinner of the family, Kama who vends at Bamboo Market, BOC, has borne the brunt of the lockdown. Expressing apprehension on the fate of her four children, she says “It’s been just three days, but we are badly affected by the lockdown.” She makes a daily income of Rs. 500-1000/- with which she feeds her family, pays rent and manages children’s school fees. “We are living and surviving hand-to-mouth” said a worried Kama, mulling over the long challenging weeks that lie ahead. With no other source of income, the woman said “we have no option as this virus is the biggest problem now, and we have to sacrifice for the safety of all.”
Mother of one, Akhone who vends at Razhü Point said “this is our only source of income and this lockdown has cut the lifeline of our daily needs.” She said, many of her friends are worried about what to eat in the next few weeks, besides the rent, school fees etc. “We can only pray and hope that this virus will end soon and that we can do business as usual to run our families,” she said.
Ketholeyü, a construction worker earns Rs. 700/- per day. Sharing his concern on survival during this lockdown period, the worried father of two says “Whatever we have saved over the few days, we have bought our rations which will run out in few days time. Now I am worried about the coming days.” Ketholeyü lives in a rented room which costs his Rs. 2200/- per month.
Hundreds of daily wage earners like Kama, Akhone and Ketholeyü who are sole bread earners live in rented rooms and manage their family with the meager incomes. With this lockdown, they are faced with added challenges and problems of their own.