Mumbai: Andheri's Dinesh Kamble (30) has been in a moral dilemma for the last six months. On one hand, he can't afford to send his daughter to school because of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. On the other, his earnings can't resume unless schools and colleges reopen.
Kamble owns a xerox and printing shop near Chakala. Since educational institutions have closed their doors, his business has come to a standstill, as most of his customers were school and college goers.
"This city has gradually started limping back to normalcy. Many people have started going back to their business as well. But unless schools reopen, my business won't resume," Kamble told the Free Press Journal.
Kamble has two jumbo print and xerox machines worth Rs 3 lakhs each. He states, the machines require maintenance after every three months. Due to the lockdown, he is unable to afford the maintenance charges and the charges are exorbitant.
"The maintenance cost for each machine is Rs 7,500. I haven't done the maintenance work this month even though it was due. I am afraid that the humidity might dampen parts of the machine," stated Kamble.
For many, the lockdown has caused an immense loss to their gadgets and raw materials required for the purpose of printing and photocopy.
One of Rakesh Ravi’s (46) jumbo printing machines stopped working earlier this month, which will cost him at least Rs 50,000 for repair. "We need to operate our machines regularly or else glitches started to occur. During monsoon, we need to be extra cautious because the damp weather causes the ink to get condensed, which freezes the machine and harms it," Ravi told FPJ.
Ravi has his printing and xerox shop adjacent to Mumbai University's Kalina campus at Santa Cruz (east). "The only way we can avoid this mess is by keeping it functional. But we don't have any clients. If we keep the machine on, we will be charged exorbitantly by electric supply providers," Ravi added.
Both Kamble and Ravi mentioned that the representatives of their association have written to both Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar demanding financial relief. However, nobody has responded yet. "We have approached the CM and deputy CM, but haven't received any response. We might try visiting them again soon," Kamble stated.
"Unless the government helps us with financial aid, we won't be able to sustain ourselves, because it appears that schools and colleges won’t be opening soon. Unless they reopen, our business won't resume," stated Ravi.