The Tiruchirapalli chapter of an urban sanitation support programme has stepped up to secure the health and livelihoods of sanitation workers and caretakers managing community and public toilets in the city.
Barely 30-40 per cent of the MSME units in industrial clusters in and around the pink city are functional, and working to less than half their capacity. Lack of any monetary relief is their main grievance.
Wedding photographers, musicians with small bands, local caterers and many others, who depend on events and social gatherings for their earnings, talk of the sufferings that COVID-19 has brought upon them.
Faced with miserable conditions at district quarantine centres and no prospect of jobs, the 1.5 lakh plus labourers who have returned to Bihar could well be left with just one option — go back to where they returned from.
This pandemic has taught us the value of a work force that cities have largely taken for granted. As the lockdown is lifted in a few zones, it is time to introspect and ensure just and humane employment for domestic workers.