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'We are cooperating with govt, it should also help us'

By A GANESH NADAR
April 02, 2020 11:56 IST
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How are Indians faring during the lockdown?
A Ganesh Nadar finds out.

Photograph: Alok Pathania/ANI Photo
 

The 21-day national lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus has understandably highlighted the travails of the poor and the migrant labour force.

But how do common people fare in this period of extreme national crisis? The self-employed, for instance, or someone at the lower rungs of the corporate ladder?

A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com finds out.

Satish
Works at a retail showroom, Chennai

It is very difficult to stay at home without work.

Essential commodities are available near my home, but you have to stand in line. I don't know if the people standing there are in good health or infected. So we wash everything before we use them in our home.

I also wash my hands and feet every time I step out of my home.

I see that it is the daily wage-earners who are suffering. Government staff get a month's salary so they are okay. I think people who employ daily wage-earners should look after them in these difficult times.

The provision and vegetable shops are open from the morning till 2.30 pm. We cannot go out after that.

I have a wife and two kids at home. Both the boys do some exercise inside the house every day.

Suresh
Taxi driver, Chennai

I stay in Chennai with my wife and two children. Last month I have not faced any problems, but I don't know what I am going to do this month.

From this month on, cabbies, auto drivers and coolies are going to face lots of problems.

The government has said they are going to give every ration card holder Rs 1,000. They have also said that auto drivers who have registered will get Rs 2,000.

I am a cab driver and I have also registered with the government's registered society. There are 17 different kinds of workers, like barbers, construction workers, drivers and so on, registered with the social welfare department of the government.

They have announced a cash dole only for the auto drivers and I am happy for them. But they have not announced anything for the other 16 societies.

The government should announce relief for all other societies, too.

Essential commodities and medicines are available nearby, but we cannot go to the main road.

The kids are exercising on the terrace when nobody else is there.

We are co-operating with the government. The government should help us.

Ganesan
Village barber, Tuticorin

We have been told to stay at home and we are doing that. Both my daughters are married and so it is only me and my wife.

In the village every day I always get four to five customers to either shave or cut their hair. But now there is no work as nobody is coming out and I cannot go to anyone's home till this lockdown ends.

I bought four masks from the village tailor who stitched it especially for us locals.

There is a small restaurant in the village which opens at 6 am and closes at 9 am. We can buy snacks from there and bring it home.

In the village bazaar provisions and vegetable shops are open from 6 am to 1 pm. I go there and get what I need. I always wear a mask when I go there.

The milk shops are not open.

Prathap
Security guard, Chennai

Last year I had gone to my village in Nepal so this year I did not go. I am happy where I am.

In my home in Nepal I have my mother, wife and two kids. I talk to them on the phone. They are safe as they are in a village. I have sent them money for their expenses.

I have stocked up enough provisions for two weeks. If I need vegetables they are available nearby in the morning only.

I cook my own food and sometimes the madam of the house where I work also gives me food.

I am happy where I am.

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A GANESH NADAR / Rediff.com
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The War Against Coronavirus

The War Against Coronavirus