There was a time when Mushtaq Ansari (25) must race to achieve the Noida Special Economic Zone to catch the first shift that started at 7 am. There was time solely to gulp down a glass of milk and a chunk of fruit.
Now, there’s no rush. At 10 am, he was making leisurely inroads right into a stack of paranthas with pickle and creamy dahi. There’s nowhere to go, nothing to do. “I’m enjoying it now. But I might get to enjoy it too much,” he says with a smile.
Ansari’s household got here to Noida from Bihar 30 years in the past and, after a diploma in engineering, he was fortunate to get a job in the SEZ, working for a China-based firm, PCTPL, which manufactures PVC sheets used for SIM, credit score and debit playing cards. One of the main prospects of PCPTL is French telecom big CISCOM.
Noida SEZ has 400 models and round 100,000 employees, and was shut down on March 23. Ansari says, at the time his firm pledged to pay wages to all workers. But now? His good humour slips somewhat. “When COVID-19 broke out in China, they shifted all their orders to us. We were looking forward to fat end-of-year bonuses: there was so much work and India could have filled the gap. But now…I’m a bit worried. If the company slows down and there is a global lockdown, how can I expect the company to pay my wages? It is, after all, not a khairaat (alms)…” he says.
There isn’t any such ambivalence in both Mahendra Kumar, who labored as a daily-wage attender at a petroleum pump, or Hemant Nagar, who labored in the Minda auto parts manufacturing facility in Surajpur. Although petrol pumps are labeled below important providers, there may be hardly any enterprise. All employees have been advised to not report back to work.
Both Kumar and Nagar are going house — strolling as a result of there are neither buses nor trains. Kumar hopes to hitch a experience on a vegetable or milk truck not less than a part of the strategy to Kanpur. Nagar has to stroll round 100 km to a village close to Aligarh.
But hadn’t Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested all Indians to remain the place they’re? “What can Modiji do about prices? A katta (10 kg) of atta used to cost Rs 260. This morning, it was selling at Rs 400. Potatoes have gone up to Rs 40 a kg. Whoever heard of such a thing? We earn Rs 7,000 a month — where there is work. Now, there’s no work, no rations, and no money. So we will go home and help with the harvesting,” Nagar stated.
His mates chip in. “At least at home there will be no rent to pay. And food is always there on the table…”
But strolling 100 km? “Don’t kanwariyas do it? Navratra has started. We will stop in temples and villages on the way. Maybe we’ll get a lift. It isn’t impossible,” Nagar stated effervescently.
All alongside the sides of the Gautam Buddha Nagar freeway, many individuals are leaving, and never all of them will return. “I’ve had enough,” says Kumar softly. “I’ll help with the katai (harvest) and then just stay in the village.”
These wage-earners are simply the tip of the iceberg for law enforcement officials tasked with retaining folks at house. Harish Chander, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Central Noida, is holding a briefing for his group, counselling them to not be too strict, however not present any leniency to gawkers and people out for joyrides.
He anticipates issues as people who find themselves confined to one-room properties, get fed up and begin spilling out on to the roads. He says Noida police is making preparations to organise meals supply in many localities. But he confesses that it’s onerous to be affected person all the time.
There’s a fracas a couple of hundred meters away: A policeman is utilizing his baton to thwack at a bike that’s breaking the barrier — till the rider exhibits him the cargo he’s carrying. It is a rat cage with 4 squealing, wriggling rats that need to be disposed of. Hastily the policeman waves the bike by and it vanishes. Such are the sensible issues of managing a lockdown.