Empty roads and empty pockets

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Published on June 1, 2021 by

Lucknowites miss the rush on old Lucknow streets as restrictions set to continue till May 10th

Lucknow : Many traders selling traditional clothing, bangles, decorative footwear, carpets and prayer caps, find themselves at a loss with shops not allowed to be set up. 

A lot of unorganized vendors who put stalls in the month of Ramzan to earn most of their year’s livelihood have not earned much since Ramzan started. 

Mohsin Zaidi, who puts up a footwear stall every Ramzan said, “We used to earn most of our earnings in this month, but there has been no earning till now”. 

The government has reached out to some and is providing five kilograms of ration per month. “But in times when the cost of living is constantly going up, this much aid hardly means anything especially for us who have kids to look after”, said another stall owner in the city.

The old city of Lucknow used to be full of food, clothing and accessories stalls during Ramzan with roads packed with shoppers, but since one year the market has gone down and the rush is missing due to the fear of contracting the virus.

Remembering the old days when roads used to be jammed, Arshi Murtaza a resident of Old Lucknow said, “Till 2019 the roads of Nakhas and Akbari Gate used to be full of people spending their earnings in Ramzan, I used to shop a lot like bangles, eatables, etc as a tradition, but now the streets have no delight due to the pandemic”. 

The fear of contracting the virus and the restrictions imposed by the government has not just merely hit the small-scale traders but also big shopping marts like Vishal Mega Mart and V Mart. Though it is a bit easy for the Mart managers to balance their expenses along with staff salaries, the unorganized street traders have no way to get even minimum compensation. 

Emphasising on the need for maintaining social distancing Vishwajit Singh the Station House Officer of Chowk, Lucknow said, “To stop the virus from spreading it is mandatory to keep a check on social distancing, which becomes a struggle with the small stalls as they occupy most of the road. Hence preventing the market from opening in full swing is the best resort”.

The street vendors, including those who sell sewaiyan , do not come under any organization due to which chances of them getting any relief or compensation are none.

And with Covid being a constant threat, their struggle to sustain their livelihood continues.

 

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