“No outsiders, vendors allowed”, a notice on the main gate of the colony for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in Bhayli area of the city reads. As the colony of 10,000 people makes sure that lockdown is enforced properly, they also battle with concerns over a likely extension of the lockdown that has already affected their source of livelihood.
On Thursday, Vadodara declared Tandalja as its second red zone area and sealed around 1,800 homes. On the same day, this colony almost 1 km away from the red zone area completely barred entry of any outsiders. The gates now remain closed for the entire day even as the residents chit chat with each other from their balconies and terraces.
With a close proximity to the red zone area and with increasing number of cases being reported in the city, the residents now are extra cautious. “Nobody from our colony worked in Tandalja. We do not have direct contact but it’s good to be cautious. A medical check-up was conducted initially, probably they should conduct it again here. Our provision stores also remain open only till 12 in the afternoon and we have strictly prohibited entries of outsiders,” said president of the colony, Anil Chavda. While during the initial period of the lockdown 20 vegetable vendors were allowed inside, they are now asked to wait outside the gate even as the residents line up to buy vegetables.
As the uncertainties over the lockdown deepen, residents hope for some relaxations. “We read that some states have extended the lockdown till April 30, which is two more weeks. I do not know if the extension will be applicable here as well but if it does, it will be very difficult for us to sustain further. It’s almost three weeks without work. A zero income for a poor family like ours means running out of savings of at least four-five months. We won’t be able to sustain further. Even if the lockdown continues, they should let us work for a few hours or give us some work somewhere,” said Suresh Raval, an auto rickshaw driver.
In the lane next to his lives Ramaben Meda with her husband and three children. Two weeks prior to the lockdown, she had met with an accident and fractured her leg. Her husband, who is diabetic, is struggling to make ends meet. “I am now recovering and was planning to resume work. I have not been able to work since the accident. I supported my family. My husband does not keep well and he used to stay back home. But since I was unwell he would take up daily wage jobs. Now both of us are without work. We have medical expenses to look at, five stomachs to feed. I was planning to resume work from 15th but if the lockdown is extended then how would I manage. No one will pay me for being absent from work for so long,” Meda said.
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