Kochi

Resilience key in the face of rising cost of life

Resilience is no longer a concept or a word in the dictionary. It has become an everyday fact of life. Post COVID-19 pandemic and in the face of rising cost of life, people, especially those who have no regular income, are resorting to a range of measures to overcome the challenges.

M.K. Tresia used to be a marginal dairy farmer until the pandemic threatened to bring the curtains down on what was a flourishing and stable business. With two milch animals in the stable, she sold about 10 to 12 litres of milk in the morning.

The income was augmented by the sale of fresh curd and a little clarified butter churned out from milk. Her family helped out with fodder collection and subsidised cattle feed from Milma was a supportive factor. But she has now to cope with the rising cost of cattle feed, fall in the availability of green fodder, as well as rising cost of life triggered by the hike in fuel cost, including cooking gas.

Renish Bose

Renish Bose

But the family has not taken on the new demands without resistance. She has joined a group of women, who work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. She also works at a seafood processing plant whenever time allows her.

It is a lot tougher than before, but it is not the worst of times, she says when asked about her multiple jobs that earn her about ₹600 to 800 a day. The money goes into feeding the family of four, keeping the animals well-cared for as well as meeting the repayment requirements of the loans that have been availed for various purposes.

Her husband, who is a retired employee from a private job, has a small pension that augments the family’s income. But that’s not much, he says.

P.K. Shishupalan, who owned an autorickshaw and used it as a regular means of income, has shifted his occupation entirely. He now runs a kiosk or a day-long ‘thattukada’ where tea, snack, lemonade, and other soft drinks are served.

He says, now, he has more freedom to look for other means of income, shifting from one job to another. Public transport systems, including autorickshaws, went virtually out of sight with the lockdown. Even now people are a little worried about using these vehicles, he says.

P.K. Shishupalan

P.K. Shishupalan

Though the price of daily provisions and essentials are seen to be slipping now, people such as Renish Bose are not leaving anything to chance. He has opened a little shop selling knick-knacks to augment his income from a photography studio, which had run into a serious debt crisis during the lockdown.

Teresa

Teresa

The fall in price of egg is a concern for poultry farmers. The price of egg (per 100) that was ₹465 in Nedumangad market on May 12, 2021 and ₹460 in Kozhikode was now ₹415 in Nedumangad and ₹410 in Kozhikode.

Milk price has held steady over the last six months thanks largely to the intervention of regional milk cooperatives, which cater to the bulk of the demand. John Theruvath, chairman of the Ernakulam Regional Milk Cooperative, says the cooperative, one of the three regional cooperatives comprising the districts of Thrissur, Idukki, Kottayam and Ernakulam, sold about 8,000 litres of the Rich Milk variety, 3.64 lakh litres of Pride category and 57,000 litres of toned milk a day.

Matta rice now sells between ₹50 and ₹46 a kg, depending on the quality of the product, says a dealer. The rise in the price has been triggered by a shortage of supplies from Andhra Pradesh, where millers appeared to be getting less consignments of paddy compared to the past. He says the prices of rice varieties such as Surekha and Jaya too are also on the rise because of short supply.


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Printable version | May 13, 2022 7:53:34 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/resilience-a-key-factor-in-the-face-of-rising-cost-of-life/article65410063.ece