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Even one meal a day is a luxury

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Ganesh Prabhu

Rise in prices has hit lower income groups hard

‘Can we give up eating just because prices are rising’

UDUPI: The increase in prices of essential commodities has hit the people in the unorganised sector hard. To cope with inflation, people have come up with their own strategies. Some are brining in less quantity of foodgrains and vegetables. Some even had to change their eating habits. While some said that the price rise would change their voting preference, many said that it would not and some others were non-committal.

Srimati Jathana, who works as a sweeper in multi-storeyed buildings, has three members in her family. Her husband owns a petty shop. She has two children — a daughter in X Standard and a son in VIII Standard. Both go to a government school.

She said that earlier she used to buy rice and vegetables in bulk, but now she brought them in small quantity. “We were used to eating boiled rice, now we eat the raw rice. It is difficult to make both ends meet. I keep telling the owners of the places where I work to increase my pay. I do not know if it will change the way I vote,” she said.

Some people are working overtime and some others are doing part-time jobs to cope with the inflation. Some have “ganji” more often.

Dinesh Amin, an autorickshaw driver comes from Athrady, which is about 12 km from Udupi, to drive autorickshaws in the city. He works from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. He has a wife and a two-year-old child to take care of.

Mr. Amin says: "Can we give up eating just because the prices have gone up? Earlier, we used to eat fish often. Now we eat it once a week. Some days we eat only ganji. I work overtime for two hours to earn more money. We have not been given yellow cards under the PDS. It becomes difficult to get kerosene. I work for 14 hours a day, two hours more than my earlier routine. To help me, my wife rolls beedies at home to earn some more money. I may change my voting preference.”

B. Sheikh Salam Saheb, who works as a guard in apartment, has five children. He says: “I am paid Rs. 3,000 a month. There are days when we eat just “ganji” and salt, without any side dishes at home.”

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