New urban poor in Mumbai -- No demand, self-employed hardest hit: Socha na tha ki haath phailana padega -Mayura Janwalkar and Sadaf Modak

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published Published on Oct 29, 2020   modified Modified on Oct 30, 2020

-The Indian Express

Baudh’s is a story playing out across the city as the Covid lockdown winds down but small businesses don’t know where the keys to demand are.

Mumbai: Their ghar is gone because the rent cannot be paid so the Baudh family has moved to their karkhana whose owner has given them some time to pay.

Seated on its floor in a chawl near Juhu Gally, Anant (8), Arpit (6) and Anshika (2), watch a Marathi children’s rhyme on the only smartphone they have. This was where workers employed by their father Akash Baudh stitched garments until the lockdown in March. This has been the Baudh home through the months of the lockdown after he moved out of his rented house, unable to make the Rs 14,000 monthly rent. This room, its monthly rent of Rs 8000 pending for six months, has six industrial sewing machines and swathes of fabric wrapped in plastic. In a corner is a stove, a gas cylinder and some utensils.

Since March, he has sold eight of his 15 sewing machines to pay his bills. Bought at Rs 17,000 per unit, he parted with the five-year-old machines for Rs 7,000 each. “Aap sochiye agar mera yeh haal hai toh mere neeche ke karigar ka kya haal hoga (Imagine if this is my state, what’s the plight of the workers I employ.)” said Baudh.

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The Indian Express, 29 October, 2020,

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