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Gypsies in Madurai struggle to eke out a living during lockdown

Many gypsies living at Sathyamoorthy Nagar near Samayanallur here are struggling to eke out a living during this lockdown period.

Gypsies in Madurai struggle to eke out a living during lockdown
File Photo


They are going through hard times as they have no source of livelihood, staying indoors. Since the gypsies, who normally engage in fortune telling, wandering through the streets in various localities, to earn their livelihoods, are now destined to stay indoors after the curfew was imposed, the nomadic community feels.

P Sundaram, resident of Kattu Naicker second street, with just a few petty shops, where commodities are sold at exorbitant prices, capitalising on the lockdown situation, people have no other alternative to fetch essential commodities at Samayanallur, few kilometres away.

“It requires a minimum of Rs 100 for making lunch at home. Many have been without food for days,” the aggrieved Sundaram said.

The corona relief of Rs 1,000 per rice card holders provided some solace. But, still all such card holders could not get similar assistance. After providing tokens to nearly 900 card holders, a cash of Rs 1,000 was extended to some of the rice card holders, but still free commodities such as rice, sugar and dhal are yet to be distributed, he said.

M Arumugam from the Fourth Kattu Naicker street said he could hardly even borrow to run his family owing to lockdown prevailing in the State. With no money in hand, his family could not even make ‘mulligatawny’.

Only 200 families of below-poverty line at Sathyamoorthy Nagar have received corona relief so far. The relief of Rs1,000 would not be sufficient for a family since a kilo of vegetables is priced at Rs 50. It requires a minimum of Rs 250 per day for a family. Much to the agony, the nomadic community of this locality are unable to access the district administration to represent their grievances through petition during the lockdown.

Peter Krishnan, a resident, said since the livelihoods of the local community are at stake, some of them engage in catching fish in kanmois near-by as they are fighting for daily bread. With the aid of some voluntary organisations, rice and other essential commodities are provided to some households here. However, the lockdown is one way favourable to the community at Sathyamoorthy Nagar, as it puts the long history of religious conflict to rest.

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