Even after eight to nine hours of hard work, artisans end up earning between Rs. 150 and Rs. 180 a day
Come Ramzan, and all roads lead to the famed Pathergatti and Madina building markets. Dotted with numerous shops selling anything from safety pin to diamond-studded jewellery, the markets attract thousands of people including a few hundred NRIs from across the globe.
The season brings in cheers to traders, with the turnover reportedly running into crores of rupees. But the workers, who form the backbone of the market, do not make huge money despite slogging extra working hours.
“The only benefit they get is more work, which means putting in more working hours to earn and save some money for the lean period,” says social activist Jameela Nishath.
Areas like Amannagar, Jaweednagar, Nashemannagar, Kalapather, Vattepally and Bandlaguda are dotted with several small workshops where artisans and craftsmen are engaged in making footwear, embroidery, lac bangles, tailoring, jewellery design and stitching of burkhas.
Each workshop employs three to 15 persons depending on the quantum of work. “It is more like slavery, with workers being underpaid in the absence of monitoring by the authorities,” says S.Q. Masood, social activist.
For most, Ramzan is the time to make a few extra bucks for the rainy season. “There is no work during two to three months every year, and the money now saved is used at that point of the year,” says Kamal Khan, who works at a footwear making unit. Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, he is one of the many migrants settled in the Amannagar.
The glittering stone-studded bangles made by artisans like Mohammed Razaaq add sparkle to Laad Bazaar, and they are sold for a premium. However, even after working hard for eight to nine hours, workers end up earning between Rs. 150 and Rs. 180 a day.
“Whatever be the season, we are paid the same wages. And life is always a struggle for us,” says Razaaq.