A series of lockdowns and curfews have been issued across India because of the current COVID-19 outbreak to curb the spread of the pandemic, which has left slim chances for a large number of people seeking temporary jobs to get employed.
Among those are casual laborers like Marcus Hatagade and Manohar Maruti Jadhav who wait in the morning until an employer hires the workers he or she needs.
The laborers told China Central Television (CCTV) journalists that the tradition of waiting at a gathering point for a casual work has been decades in the making, which is how many of them used to make a living every day.
However, it has been extremely hard to find employment since the emergence of the new COVID outbreak.
“Weeks and months passed by, but no one is getting employed. Now what is happening? Plumbers, electricians, carpenter, construction workers, painters are not allowed to enter the house following the latest major outbreak,” said Marcus Hatagade.
“Since the lockdowns were implemented due the surge of cases, I have not had any work. I have three kids and none of them can find any employment as well, so they are just staying at home,” said Manohar Maruti Jadhav.
India has strengthened pandemic prevention and control measures against the worsening situation cases in the country, but the casual laborers seem to be reluctant to wear face masks and keep social distance.
As Mumbai has continued to tighten its lockdowns and curfew it imposed since the end of March, the laborers sometimes get shoved or even fined by police for staying on the street for too long.
By sticking to the gathering area and having no casual work to do, the choremen can neither earn any money or make anything better, but 52-year-old Vikram Das said he has no other choice but to hang in there because of his family.
“I am in a position that from the last one month I didn’t get one single day of work. Now the situation is that we don’t have food to eat. We have family, kids at home. For them, we have to come out to work because they are dependent on us. We will earn and they will eat. If we don’t step out of our house, then how are they going to survive?” said Vikram Das.
Data from local media reports said some 7.5 million people lost their jobs in April, with many living on daily wages.
According to a survey released by US think tank Pew Research Center in March, 75 million new poor (living on two U.S. dollars per day) were added in India sine the COVID-19 outbreak, accounting for 60 percent of global poor population.