Before the coronavirus pandemic, Rakesh Arora wont to be a vendor at the India Gate, but his business didn’t devour after lockdown. Now, the farmers’ stir at the Singhu border has given him an opportunity to enhance livelihood, selling badges and stickers.
With the protesting farmers staying put at the border point of the capital for over six weeks now, variety of small businesses have sprung up at the location , the most recent being sale of pro-protest badges and stickers.
Shopkeepers with basketful of badges and stickers with ‘I love Kheti (farming)’, ‘I love Kisan’, and ‘Kisan Ekta Zindabad’ printed on them have seated themselves at every nook and corner of the highway. Almost every protester might be seen wearing a badge, while the tractors and trolleys flaunt the stickers.
Arora and his nephew brought in inventory worth Rs 2,500 two days ago from Ambala and have managed to sell products worth Rs 700 thus far .
“I wont to be a vendor at India Gate. But after lockdown, business has been really poor. So we decided to line patronize the protest once we saw a chance ,” Arora said.
Amaan, an electrician from Delhi’s Okhla has also taken to selling these badges and stickers, due to lack of labor . Both badge and sticker are being sold at Rs 10.
“It doesn’t yield much income, but something is best than nothing. Barely 15-20 people buy these every day ,” he said.
Brothers Moin (17) and Nadeef (11), from Uttar Pradesh’s Loni, have also ventured into this business. “We usher in 500 of those badges a day . We manage to sell some 300 of them,” said Moin, who found out shop in Singhu every week back.
Many shopkeepers at Singhu border hope to form most of the agitation, by earning whatever little they will . Many of those badges are sourced from Delhi’s Sadar Bazaar market.
Chandan Kumar, who has been running an electrical equipment patronize the Singhu border for over five years now, has pushed bulbs, switches and wires to the rear and lined his shop with ‘No Farmer, No Food’ stickers and badges.
“The electrical business had completely taken a backseat. I realised that the farmers liked stickers about their agitation. So I started getting radium paper from Kashmere Gate market and printing the stickers myself,” he said.
Kumar said while it had been not in the least an in depth substitute for his earlier business, it did usher in some income.
For over a month several farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, are camping at the borders of Delhi to protest the three farms laws, which the NDA claims will reform the agri sector.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the security cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of massive corporates.
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