Life isn’t rosy for these firewood-seller. Unless they venture into forest and collect twigs and firewood to sell it in mandis, they have nothing to live on.
Dozens of people in groups are seen carrying firewood bundles, collected in forest, in cycles and rickshaws everyday. They sell it to mandis for Rs. 600 to Rs. 650 per quintal or to poor households on retail basis depending on the quality.
“We often walk for about 20 km in the forest to collect twigs. As it takes quite a lot of time, we carry food and water with us. Though the work is tedious, we earn more by doing this than working as daily-wagers,” says Venkulu, who has been into this job for quite some time now.
These are not the only ones benefitted by the job. The mandiwalas, apart from buying firewood at cheaper rates, rent the cycles and rickshaws to those who gather wood for higher price. Besides, they face a constant threat to their lives by animals, but that has not deterred them from continuing the job as it’s the only means of livelihood for them.
A dozen of such families are depending on firewood gathering as the district is surrounded by forest area on all sides. Though it’s not a steady job, it fulfils the immediate needs of many and continues to attract the poor as an option to be considered.
Dozens of people in the district venture into forest risking lives to collect twigs and firewood and sell it in mandis