Millennium Post (Kolkata)

50% staff in offices: Tough days for food sellers

- OUR CORRESPOND­ENT

KOLKATA: Amid rising Covid cases, food sellers in and around Kolkata are witnessing a considerab­le drop in sales as government and private offices are running with 50 per cent employees.

There are around 2.75 lakh hawkers in Kolkata including the 1.43 lakh, who sell food items and are heavily dependable on the turnout of employees in different offices.

Once again the state government offices started functionin­g with 50 per cent employees to maintain physical distancing norms to check the spread of Covid.

Similarly, there are many private offices, where employees are preferring to “work from home”.The hawkers were out of job for more than seven to eight months due to the nationwide lockdown in 2020.

With relaxation given to set up their stalls, they had started their fight to make up for the losses and to earn their livelihood to run their family on daily basis. “But the surge in Covid cases has come up as a cause of concern for all 16 lakh hawkers in the state. We do not know how to survive if once again lockdown is imposed to break the chain of the disease,” said Shaktiman Ghosh, General Secretary of the National Hawkers' Federation. Members of the federation would be holding a meeting on Friday to discuss the situation as they are, this time, well aware of the outcome if once again lockdown gets imposed.

Hawkers set up their stalls at every part of the city where there are offices and market places like Esplanade, Central Avenue, Gariahat, Shyambazar and Beliaghata. Many such food stalls have also come up at the state's IT hub at Salt Lake.

National Hawkers’ Federation will hold a meeting on Friday to discuss the situation

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