With the state government making the use of masks mandatory, many people, who had lost their livelihood because of the lockdown, have found a new buisness opportunity to tide over the crisis. People who were associated with small businesses that have no takers now, has switched to making masks and selling them in markets or hawking around the city on bicycles.
Behala Silpara resident Jainal Abedin worked as a tailor with a small hosiery unit. After the lockdown was clamped, the sole bread winner for a family of six went jobless. He was finding it hard to even buy daily groceries. Now, this mask business gave him a new hope.
“Making cloth masks is simple and I can easily make more than 200 a day at my home. So, every day, I go out on my bicycle, displaying the masks on a stand, and sell them in neighbourhoods and markets. People need masks now and business has been good,” said Abedin, who sells masks at Rs 20 to Rs 30 a piece.
Dum Dum Durganagar resident Basudeb Das is not an skilled tailor like Abedin, but his wife learnt the art of making masks from an NGO. Now, while she makes masks at home, Das displays them on his bicycle and sells them in areas around Dum Dum, Airport and Baguiati. “I used to work as a sales representative and had been out of work since lockdown. I was left with little money when I started selling masks and it helps me make my ends meet,” he said.
These are simple masks — made of cloth, in various sizes and colours and not expensive. Vendors who would only sell essential commodities have been allowed to continue with their business. With demand for masks going up, many of them have returned on the pavements with their makeshift stalls.
Sanjay Paswan has been selling puri-sabzi from a stall on Mahatma Gandhi Road for the past 8 years. But the shop has been closed since March 22. “For the first week I had no work. I used to idle around when I saw some people selling masks and doing good business. Since I had no work, I decided to sell masks. I source the masks from a local NGO, where women from self-help groups make those masks,” said Paswan.
Every day he sells 15 to 20 masks, which cost Rs 20 each. “Something is better than nothing. Now that the government has made masks mandatory, people are wearing and buying them. Even cops would insist people to buy masks when they step out,” said Paswan.
On Sunday, the state government made it mandatory for people to wear masks when they step outside. Those who are making and selling masks feel they would not only act as a shield against novel coronavirus but also help them earn some money to run their family.
Near Poddar Court on New CIT Road, TOI spotted masks sellers follwoing social distancing norms with only one vendor for a lane. “I do not let people crowd around and wear a mask myself all the time,” says Mohammad Rahil, a vendor.
Source: Times of India