Mohali, May 8
A well-to-do man fears the virus, but the labour class dreads the lockdown more.
These days, a middle-class man scours the newspapers to keep tabs on availability of hospital bed while the vegetable vendor still seeks a response on an end to lockdown.
“Test karvayein ki teeka lagwayein, ki dihadi kamayein,” says Vinod, a vegetable vendor in Sector 79, in a typical working class’ response.
A daily wager in Mohali district runs the risk of losing half a day’s wage, if he/she feels the need for a Covid test or vaccination.
Those working in the hotel industry, school bus drivers and conductors, industrial labour, housemaids, roadside vendors and countless workers in the unorganised sector are living a life of uncertainty as their livelihood is threatened by the restrictions imposed through lockdown.
“Corona does not catch those who sweat and bleed every day,” said Ishaque, a carpenter in Baltana.
Ishaque’s fatalism is his health insurance, his term plan and future plan. Even the district administration is banking on it heavily.
A ventilator facility for a construction worker would be a wishful thinking — there is none in any of the government-run hospitals in the district — even the chance of getting access to a hospital bed is hopelessly faint for commoners these days.
Their only protection against the virus is a mask. “It is not easy to do menial work with a mask on. But the employers insist, so we have to wear it. Nobody wants to lose a job these days,” said Bhanumati, a housemaid in an upscale housing society in Sohana. — TNS
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