NEPALGUNJ, May 26: Cart puller Nankou Godiya made rounds of Nepalgunj on Tuesday and Wednesday in search of work but to no avail.
The 47-year-old, who would otherwise earn around Rs 400 on an average on regular days, returned home without a penny for the second day due to bandas called by the Matrika Yadav led Maoist party and Shiva Sena respectively.
Fellow cart puller Naresh Pasi, like Godiya, claimed that he is struggling to manage two square meals a day.
“They say they are organizing such protests programs for the betterment of the poor and the voiceless. But people like us have to stay hungry during such bandas. They never understand the plight of the poor,” Pasi fumed.
Those working on daily wages are the hardest hit by strikes. The cart pullers are further worried about the strike called by Shiva Sena on Thursday. “We don´t even know why they call these bandas. What we know is we are the ones most affected by the strikes,” said Rizwan Qureshi, a cart puller.
The daily-wage laborers claim they need at least Rs 200 every day to make ends meet and a day without work forces them to either borrow or sleep on an empty stomach. “We can´t even borrow as friends are also out of work during bandas,” argued Insan Idrisi, another cart-puller.
There are around 200 cart pullers and 1,000 rickshaw pullers in Nepalgunj while around 4,000 others are daily wage workers.