Coronavirus in Mumbai: For working class, fear of COVID-19 takes a backseat to livelihood

Mumbai: With the rise in Covid-19 cases, the economy of the nation has taken a serious plunge. With unemployment rates at their highest, the working class have already hit the roads for their daily bread and butter, for them, the fear of Coronavirus is no more as earning enough to provide two square meals for their families has become a bigger concern.

For Shahid Khan (29), the fear of Corona is long gone. He travels from Mumbra to the crowded markets of Dadar thrice every week on his motorcycle for his job as a delivery boy.

"We all know its unsafe to come out right now, but what else can we do? If we stay indoors we will die of starvation anyway. At least its better if we give our lives in the quest of food," Khan said.

Rakesh Tomar (42) had left Mumbai in May for his native place, Bhagalpur, when Corona cases were at its peak. Tomar had to struggle for nearly a month to make his ends meet before he went back to his village. But now he is back in the city, with a hope of earning money and sending it back to his family.

"Back in my village things are worse, while there is a dreaded fear of Corona, there is also a problem of unemployment. If I would have stayed there for more time, then my family would have died of starvation," Tomar told FPJ.

Just like Tomar, Pankaj Kumar (36) also came back from his native village, Kanpur. Kumar states, he left Mumbai due to panic but after seeing, what starvation feels like, he decided to get back to work.

"I stayed with my family for three months and what's point in being with them if I can't keep them well. I am the only earning member in my family and since I went back we had to cut on our meals and often had to sleep hungry," Kumar stated. Kumar works at a jewellery workshop in Malad. He stated, one of his colleagues was tested positive last week, however, the fear of Covid doesn't bother him anymore.

The workers stated, the fear of Corona no longer bother them because they are desperate. While, it's their employers, who are still afraid.

"My previous employer stated that he won't resume his business and won't able to pay me unless things become normal entirely," stated Tomar.

"If one doesn't have the need, then the person must definitely stay inside at all cost. The difference between the rich and poor is they have enough to sustain themselves but we need to make our ends meet. We have to accept our situation and move on" stated Khan.

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Free Press Journal