Daily wagers struggle for food during lockdown

Gopal, Treasurer of the Karnataka State Construction Workers' Union, describe how the COVID-19 lockdown has pushed workers into further poverty and desperation.
Gopal, treasurer of the Karnataka State Construction Workers’ Union shares the problems faced by daily wagers during lockdown.

RJ Asha from Radio Active 90.4 MHz speaks to Gopal, treasurer of the Karnataka State Construction Workers’ Union, about the many problems that daily wage labourers are facing during lockdown and the efforts to ease their difficulties.

Gopal says they are managing to keep the Union’s Yeshwanthpur branch running by pitching in with their own money. The Union is trying its best to address the workers’ demands which the  government has done nothing to address. For now, the Union is helping them by using its own funds to cover medical costs, distribute food and essentials like masks and sanitisers.

The Union is focusing on areas like Banavara, Lakshmipura Cross and Abbigere. In Abbigere, it is helping a community of paper collectors. These workers are living in makeshift tents and do not have enough to sustain themselves. They are demanding monetary help, but the Union can only provide food at this point, says Gopal.

The Union is working towards connecting the workers with donors who are willing to help. Ten workers from Kolkata are living in HSR Layout and the Union is in touch with them through Whatsapp, helping them find food nearby.

Only registered workers are eligible to receive help from the government. Gopal says that a lot of these workers do not have a card and hence do not receive any help. Even though the Union tries to spread awareness among the workers regarding the card and other government schemes, some workers tend to neglect this aspect.

Gopal urges everyone to maintain social distancing and follow other safety measures in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Listen to the Radio Active COVID -19 Special  – Gopal, treasurer of the Karnataka State Construction Workers’ Union, in conversation with RJ Asha from Radio Active.

[Compiled by Deeksha Sudhindra]

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