Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, October 21
A year ago, Kanta Chauhan (35) had hit the headlines for becoming the first bike-taxi driver in the city. After her husband met with an accident, she was compelled to take this job in order to provide good education and a better lifestyle to her children.
Kanta started earning well and enjoyed her work. However, her joy of doing something for the family was short-lived. The entire country went into the lockdown amid the Covid-19 outbreak and her work was affected. The earnings remained nil for almost five months, though she played a Good Samaritan during the lockdown by extending help to the stranded people.
Since I never wanted my family to suffer any more, I decided to vend cooked food. With the help of my husband, I put up a parantha stall near Doaba Chowk. We named our little refreshment corner Parantha Junction, but the customer footfall was not as per our expectations. Subsequently, I approached the MC officials, who allotted me space outside the Indo-Canadian office. It has been a week since I'm here. —Kanta Chauhan
“Although I wasn’t laid off from my job, but I stopped getting bookings as social distancing has become a new norm now. I tried for other jobs, but most companies refused saying they are not hiring amid the crisis. My husband, who used to be delivery man, was also unemployed. Soon we started running out of savings,” said Kanta.
“Since I never wanted my family to suffer any more, I decided to vend cooked food. With the help of my husband, I put up a parantha stall near Doaba Chowk. When Good Samaritans got to know about us, they helped us in getting a cart and gas cylinders. We named our little refreshment corner ‘Parantha Junction’. Although we received customers daily, the footfall was not as per our expectations. We used to cover 15 km to reach here. Subsequently, I approached Municipal Corporation officials, who allotted me space outside the Indo-Canadian office, near the bus stand. It has been a week since I’m here. Being the most visited area, and due to its location, the daily turnout of customers is satisfactory. We operate our stall from 6am to 6pm and provide all meals to our customers as per their demand,” said Kanta.
Kanta, who resides in Pratap Nagar, says she can now look after her kids, aged 5 and 10 years, as well while operating the stall. Nearly 30-40 customers visit her stall everyday.
Even as Kanta has taken up this new income source, she doesn’t want to leave her previous occupation. She says when things are back to normal, she will resume her bike-taxi job for at least two-three hours, as it gave her recognition.
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