School is a dream for these young ones

Harsh reality: Ritish, Ashok (centre) and Vijay busy making cricket bats in makeshift tent at the Railway Station Road in Bijapur.

Harsh reality: Ritish, Ashok (centre) and Vijay busy making cricket bats in makeshift tent at the Railway Station Road in Bijapur.  

Pradeepkumar Kadkol

Children of migrant families help parents make cricket bats but do not get to play cricket

Bijapur: Children who play cricket in the district may not be aware of the fact that cricket bats with which they play cricket are made by their peers who migrate to Bijapur from Gujarat along with their parents every year to earn their livelihood. For these children who make bats, playing cricket and going to schools is a distant dream.

Ritish Pawar and Vijay Pawar accompany their parents who come to to Bijapur district every year in the month of September to make and sell cricket bats. Then, the family returns to their native village in Gujarat in April. From April to September, the Ritish and Vijay assist their parents in preparing food items in a small hotel in Kheda district of Gujarat.

According to the family members, they come to Bijapur because there is a huge demand for cricket bats here and they earn good profit too.

From dawn to dusk children are busy learning the skill of making bats from their parents. They assist the elders of the family in making bats at a small makeshift tent at the Railway Station Road near Kandagal Hanumantrai Rangmandir where the family of four members resides. They do not go to camp schools either in Gujarat or in Karnataka.

Ashok Pawar, the father of Ritish and Vijay told The Hindu that their family was well-settled in Kheda district of Gujarat.

They were engaged in making wooden furniture. But, due to the advent of new variety of sofas, glass and plastic furniture, demand for handmade wooden items has come down. So, they are forced to migrate to other places to earn their livelihood.

The family the family thought of making cricket bats in Bijapur during summer when the demand is more. The required wood and equipment are brought from Gujarat. On any given day, the family makes about ten bats. Each bat is priced anywhere between Rs. 70 and Rs. 100.

The family manages to sell two to three bats a day. Sometimes 15-20 bats are sold only a given day when schools and other organisations buy them.

With the profit they earn, they make their living. “In the meager amount earned as profit it is very difficult to run the family. In such circumstances, we can’t think of sending children to schools. It is inevitable that they continue the profession of their forefathers to survive”, Mr. Ashok Pawar said.

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