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Delhi's Narola industrial area testimonies: 'If we pay rent, we won’t be able to eat at all'

Counterview Desk
A relief team consisting of several civil society organizations and volunteers provided monetary assistance to the families of factory workers living in the Narela Industrial Area, North Delhi. The team was provided free ration by the Delhi government, consisting 350 kg of wheat flour and 180 kg of pulses, which was also distributed among some of families.
The interacted with the people living in the area and got to know about the deplorable working conditions they have been subjugated to under the current post-lockdown phase.

A note:

The Narela Industrial Area in North Delhi has 3500 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The labour laws have been and continue to be blatantly violated and abused here. The workers here work for 10-12 hours a day, but earn much less than the minimum wage set up by the government.
Covid-19-induced lockdown has forced many living in the slums of the area to begging. Here are few excerpts from the interactions:
Radha is from Kaulambi Delhi with Five kids and no one too earn except her. She has been able to eat and provide food to her children from begging. She has no ration/ aadhaar card and therefore wasn’t entitled to any help which was being provided by the government authorities. She used to work in the factory. Since opening of factories, she has been searching for work but no one is hiring any worker. 
Sheila Devi hails from Munger, Bihar, and has been living in Delhi from past 20 years. She used to work as a daily wage labourer and says she “will do any work to survive”. She tells us that she received Flour from the govt. but there is no facility of water, either for drinking or for any purpose.
The workers here work for 10-12 hours a day, but earn much less than the minimum wage set up by the government
Billo, a single mother of Six Girls used to make a living by selling toys. Since Covid-19-induced lockdown, her work has completely stopped. She says she has no money left with her to buy toys from shops as the lockdown is ending to sell and be able to earn.
Geeta Devi, a homemaker, lives with her husband a kid. Her husband was the sole bread-earner of the family and used to earn in cycle company. Her family income has vanished completely. When asked how they will survive, She responds “Kam milega to khaega” (we will eat when we get some work).
Durga Devi along with her family of five kids and husband migrated from Madhubani, Bihar, to Delhi six months before in search of work. Her husband started working in a hotel. However, his work stopped after the lockdown. He tried getting employment in factories nearby but fell sick working after a few days.
Rajkumar Singh hails from Darbhanga, Bihar, and used to work in footwear factory. He lives with his wife, son, daughter in law and grandchildren. He tells us that they are being repeatedly asked by the landlord to pay rent of the room they live in. He says, “Kiraya denge to jo thoda bohot kha paa rahe hain vo bhi nahi ho paega” (if we pay rent, we won’t be able to eat whatever little we can eat now).
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*Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch, National Alliance of People's Movement, Ambedkarwadi Lekhak Sangh, Delhi Solidarity Group, Magadh Foundation, Rehabilitation Research Initiative, Natt Ghumakkad Samaj Kalyan Samiti, National Domestic Workers Union with the support of Delhi Forum, SRUTI, Helping Hands Charitable Trust

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