Elderly porters wait for a miracle to improve their lives

APP
December 09, 2019

Islamabad:Around 150 porters roaming around the most visited tri-weekly bazaar of federal capital located at H-9 sector are desperately waiting for a miracle to happen in Naya Pakistan that could...

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Islamabad:Around 150 porters roaming around the most visited tri-weekly bazaar of federal capital located at H-9 sector are desperately waiting for a miracle to happen in Naya Pakistan that could improve their miserable lives and give them identity, acknowledgment and reward for serving the visitors in carrying their shopped items only for the sake of few pennies.

These porters are registered by Capital Development Authority (CDA) and they work hard from morning to evening through collecting their trolleys from concerned office in the bazaar early in the morning and moving to different sections requesting the visitors to hire their services.

And finally they left for their homes with a very meagre amount in their pockets. “I reach this Bazaar at 6:00 a.m on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday; stand in a queue to collect my trolley along with my all old-age co-workers, which takes almost two to three hours. The officials note down my name, CNIC number and other details and hand over the trolley to me till 9:00 a.m.,” a porter, Arshad Ali said while talking to this agency.

“I start requesting the visitors in different corners of the market to get my services to carry their stuff but most of them refuse. Only a few who forget to bring their shopping bags from their homes are the ones who hire my services to carry their stuff towards their parked car and in return give Rs100 or little more on argument,” he said.

“Our biggest suffering is that we are not getting any fixed salary from the concerned authority and we cannot fully depend on this work to run our household in the prevailing price hike situation,” he lamented.

“Visitors call me and my co-workers as ‘Rehri Wala’, which has now become our identity, the porter who is in his sixties said.

Giving smile on the government decision to ban plastic bags, Arshad Ali said it has improved their earning to an extent and the visitors without alternative bags are bound to hire their services.

The tri-weekly bazaar is home to an extensive fruit and vegetable market, grocery, textiles and a burgeoning and expanding ‘Lunda Bazaar’ and visited by thousands of people from twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Another porter requesting anonymity said, “We don’t have any union who can raise voice for our rights.

After working hard for the whole day, we just earn Rs1000 maximum or less per day during three-days a week, which is insufficient to manage our lives. “I am not in such an age to struggle and get any other job. I am serving the visitors of this bazaar from the last many years, but no one has ever considered our contributions,” the porter said while urging the authorities concerned to at least fix any salary for them.

Saeeda Naz, a regular visitor of the bazaar said, "I always hire the services of an old age porter through approaching him on his cell number despite having alternative bag to carry my stuff, only for the sake of helping him". She said at-least the authorities concerned could replace their trolleys with damaged wheels. When contacted, Director Weekly Bazaar, Capital Development Authority, Malik Mazhar said, the only facilitation CDA could give them was to register them and provide them jackets and trolleys to work and earn.



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