COVID-19 | Following lockdown, many stare at financial instability in Delhi

People queue up to buy milk in New Delhi on Saturday.

People queue up to buy milk in New Delhi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

The 21-day lockdown has left several pockets empty with little to survive. Here are voices from those struggling to make ends meet.

 

Cab driver finds it difficult to sustain family of five

Apart from posing serious health threats, the COVID-19 outbreak also had adverse financial effects, specially after countrywide restrictions were announced.

Mohammad Ahmed, who is a driver with a leading cab service provider, now spends his days staring out of his balcony, in a bid to assess the financial impact caused in his life.

“Since the Prime Minister’s announcement, business is completely down and income zilch. The cab services have been discontinued till further orders. So at this point, we have no clarity on when it will be resumed and more importantly [we] have no idea how we will survive for the next three weeks,” said Ahmed.

With three children, Ahmed has a family of five to sustain.

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It is a bad idea to leave Capital at this time, says restaurant worker

Ram Pal from Gonda in Uttar Pradesh has decided to stay put in Delhi at least for the time being. The owner of the restaurant he works for has suspended wages but is providing food to the workers.

Ram Pal

Ram Pal  

 

“It [providing food] is better than nothing...what pay will we get when we are not working at all?” he said.

Many of his friends had left the city out of fear. Also, they were out of work and running out of money. But Ram thinks it is a bad idea to leave the Capital. “Some people who left yesterday [Saturday] and that too on some expensive bus tickets have only reached Lucknow till now...that’s only half way home,” he explained. Besides this, the task of getting to Anand Vihar bus station itself is difficult, he said.

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‘We are borrowing money to manage a meal a day’

Ramesh Kumar (57) has been without work since people’s curfew on March 22. “I only had ₹1,000 with me when the restrictions were announced...how am I supposed to get anything done with that?” asked Kumar, who lives with two children and his brother’s family.

Ramesh Kumar

Ramesh Kumar  

With alcohol stores shut, Kumar, who runs a tyre repair shop near the Nehru Enclave metro station, said that he is saving some money. But ensuring that food and ration are available is a task. “We are doing with whatever we can, borrowing money from people here and there to eat a meal in a day,” he said, sitting outside his closed shop, along with a few others who has stores nearby.

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‘Clampdown is nothing short of a ‘calamity’ for me’

With the country going into a lockdown to control the pandemic, city-dwellers, who depend on a daily source of income, are among the worst hit.

Aruna Mandal

Aruna Mandal  

 

For Govindpuri resident Aruna Mandal (31), a beautician offering at-home parlour services, a three week clampdown was nothing short of a “calamity.”

The sole breadwinner of the family, Mandal said: “It has been a week since I stopped visiting my clients’ houses. For people like me, how can there be any work from home? Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the other day that the lockdown will be for 21 days and some are saying that it might get extended. The entire situation is very distressing. What do I do?”

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 7:50:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/covid-19-following-lockdown-many-stare-at-financial-instability-in-delhi/article31203027.ece

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