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Hit by inflation, labourers turn their backs on capital

National,Business, Sun, 16 Nov 2008 IANS

New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) As prices soar and insecurity grows, those at the bottom of the social ladder are finding it difficult to make two ends meet. So, leaving behind their dreams of a better life in the city, they are beginning to migrate back to their native villages.


In the national capital, it is the daily wage labourer who is finding the going most difficult. Many of them have already returned home where the prices of basic commodities are lower.



'My brother and I are planning to go back to our village in Bihar. It is becoming difficult to manage food with the money we earn. Prices of vegetables and other eatables are going out of reach. In my village prices are not so high,' said Arvind Yadav, 37, working as a labourer on a construction site in Jasola Vihar of south-east Delhi.



Bijli, who had come here with her husband from Motihari district of Bihar and works as a maid in Sukhdev Vihar, another neighbourhood in south-east Delhi, has a similar story to tell.



'I earn Rs.1,500 by working as a maid. I have four children. My husband is a rickshaw-puller. In the last few months the prices of all the eatables have gone so high that we are left with nothing. Last week my son burnt his hand. It was very difficult for me to manage medicines for him. We are finding it difficult to survive in Delhi,' Bijli told IANS.



Khalid, 29, works as a guard in Okhla. He makes some extra money by washing cars every morning. With soaring prices he is finding it difficult to save any money to send back home.



'Most of the money that I earn is spent on food. I earn Rs.2,500 a month. Earlier I used to spend Rs.800-1,000 on food and room that I share with others. Now, it takes Rs.1,200-1,500 for this. I am not able to send much money back home,' Khalid said.



Talking to the labourers, the price differences become clear.



Potato is Rs.20 per kg in Delhi, while it is Rs.6 per kg in Araria town of Bihar. Tomatao is Rs.40 per kg in Delhi while it is Rs.10-15 per kg in Bijnore in Uttar Pradesh. Similarly Brinjal is Rs.25 per kg here, while it is Rs.12-15 per kg in Darbhanga district of Bihar.



A daily wage labourer gets Rs.90-100 per day in Delhi while he would get Rs.65-70 in small towns of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.



'For the last few months I am finding it hard to find labourers for my construction site. Many of them who were working with me for the last few years have gone back to their homes because of the soaring prices. They are finding it difficult to survive in Delhi,' building contractor Praveen Arora told IANS.


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