Labourers find it hard to keep heads above water

Say economic crisis devastating their lives beyond imagination

Jamil Mirza January 29, 2023
Rescuers and labourers working at nearby coal mines rushed to the site and initiated a rescue operation soon after receiving information about the incident. PHOTO: FILE


At a time when even affluent individuals find it increasingly difficult to cope with the ever-increasing inflation, the day labourers and daily wagers have been hit severely by the crisis.

During the worsening economic situation, not only are they struggling to ward off mental agonies, but they also have to stave off hunger.

A score of day labourers turns up at Chauhar Chowk and Rajar Bazaar with the tools of their trade, watching every passer-by with the hope that they will hire them while in return, the wagers will have some money to take home by dusk.

At seven o'clock in the morning, the daily wagers show up on the footpaths in large numbers with their hammers, shovels, hoes and paint brushes, etc.

They go through the demoralising wait every day with their fellows for whom feeding their families twice a day has turned into an agonising task.

Those who get job leave for their work, and those who do not, return home dejected with the hope that they will come here again tomorrow and try their luck again.

The daily wagers wait for the employers with empty stomachs until some benevolent philanthropist comes with a one-time meal to satisfy their hunger. Although they get to eat for one time the thoughts about the empty stomachs of their families keep worrying them.

Muhammad Rasheed, Gulzar Ahmed and Mushtaq Ahmed said that with the rise in inflation, it has become very difficult to buy even the most basic food items like flour, cooking oil and pulses.

Work opportunities have also become almost non-existent with the worsening inflation.

It is worth noting here that the construction, excavation, painting, and other work opportunities have decreased remarkably in the garrison city, similar to every part of the country.

The distressed workers said that there was a time when they used to come looking for work and would get work soon. But now the situation has changed.

“Those who come here now to find workers take full advantage of our duress and then offer wages as per their choice,” they lamented.

The wages are not fixed and paid according to the work, one of the workers said and added that if they try to negotiate the price, the clients leave which is why we are constrained to work on their conditions.

Meanwhile, Naseeruddin, Shakoor Ahmed, and Gulfaraz sit on the sidewalks in despair holding their temples, lamenting that they do not have any alternative to turn to.


Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2023.


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