Impact of Covid-19 Shutdown on the life of Commoners

A tale of how pandemic has upturned the life of a migrant worker and his family

By Ajay Tomar

Shutdown of economic activities during lockdown more or less affected the business of everyone – especially the daily wagers. This was confirmed while setting up an interview with Naimuddin – a locksmith in Delhi’s Shahdara – who like thousands of others faced the dire consequences of economic shutdown during the pandemic. Throughout the country, the Shutdown – in many phases- gravely pushed thousands of families into a financial crisis.

Naimuddin, aged 33,  had to live with nitty-gritty issues that pushed his family into a major crisis.  His family comprises his mother, wife and two children. He runs his shop near Shahdara railway station.

Naimuddin, on the most left with his 12 year old son Imran

Hailing from Rataul village in Baghpat district, UP – Naimuddin said that his income dropped majorly with the advent of pandemic.

“Earlier I used to earn between Rs 700 – Rs 1000 everyday but now even Rs 100 are difficult to earn,” lamented Naimuddin while telling how difficult it has become to make both the ends meet now.

The father of two started selling fruits with a hope to improve his family’s financial condition. But it didn’t work. And so he returned back to what he enjoys doing – his passion for repairing chains and locks.

“The business was slow, so the fruits used to rot in some two-three days. My chains and locks don’t rot for years and years,” said Naimuddin. 

Different types of locks and bag straps Naimuddin sells

Though he and his family have taken the first shot of Covishield vaccine, Naimuddin has not. According to him, he couldn’t find a slot till date, at a time when people are taking their second shots.

Naimuddin had to take a loan of Rs 4 lakhs – from a lender – during the first wave and he has been under the debt since. All this while, his landlord kept  insisting him to pay rent of Rs 8000 per month for the shop – even when closed -, which he adds was very hard to manage. 

Things got worse for Naimuddin when he went to his bank to withdraw RS 4000 and the bank asked him to pay a sum of Rs 16000 to re-activate his account. 

“Bank wants me to always keep the minimum amount of Rs 2000, so I deactivated my account from there. Even police didn’t support and filing a case meant long years and paying a lawyer,” said Naimuddin.

In a study, the International Labour Organization estimated that more than 25 millions people’s job were at high risk during the pandemic. Describes as one of the worst global crisis since World War 2, it also accounted that 81 percent (out of total 3.billion million) people are affected from Shutdown. Nainuddin’s family didn’t have to face any health crisis till date.

Whether the hospitals will have enough beds? What will happen to work in case of another Lockdown? How will he feed his family then? All such questions keep circling his mind throughout the day. But immersed in his work and carrying a benevolent smile on his face, he keeps himself motivated.